Many ScubaBoarders might know one of our outstanding members, Bob Bailey AKA [user]NWGratefulDiver[/user]. Bob's contributions to ScubaBoard include many insightful posts and thoughtful responses to any number of diving queries from a myriad of users. Bob has actually been here for a long time. As user #2872 he's been an active SBer since the beginning. Bob has even helped us out over the years with service as a moderator on SB, and helps out at the SB Booth at the NW Dive and Travel Expo. All in all, he's an outstanding member of the community.
Last week, Bob got involved in a pretty controversial situation. He stepped in and said something to a local hunter who legally harvested a Giant Pacific Octopus from a favorite local dive site. While the diver who harvested the Octopus was within his rights, Bob made sure to speak his mind, and share his experience here on SB and other social media sites about the incident.
Subsequently, with the aid of Scott Lundy ([user]lundysd[/user] here on ScubaBoard) Rick Stratton (Dive News Network), the Seattle Aquarium, and Washington Scuba Alliance on board. They arranged to be heard as a last minute addition to the agenda in a meeting already scheduled for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Thanks to an influential online petition (which received more than 5,000 signatures in only a few short days), the WDFW agreed to hold public meetings this winter to further explore the possibility of protecting the popular dive site(s) from harvesting of marine life from those areas.
From a few simple posts on SB and other forums in the Northwest region... divers got involved, and effected almost immediate change. The power of social media and sites like ScubaBoard is clear. Thanks for your devotion Bob.[HR][/HR]
Here is the story as posted on KOMO News' website - http://www.komonews.com/news/local/After-controversial-kill-state-considers-ban-on-octopus-hunting-178042191.html
By Kristen Drew Published: Nov 8, 2012 at 9:33 PM PST Last Updated: Nov 8, 2012 at 11:42 PM PST
SEATTLE -- A controversial kill has prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider a ban on octopus hunting at West Seattle's Seacrest Park.
Under the current law, divers can legally take one octopus from the water each day. That's exactly what diver Dylan Mayer did last week, but the 19-year-old had no idea his hunt would cause so much controversy.
Angry divers took photos of Mayer holding the octopus and shared them online, and since then Mayer said he's received dozens of threatening phone calls and hate-filled emails.
Bob Baily has seen a lot, but he's never seen the diving community come together like it did in the past week.
"We're looking at laws right now that have been on the books for about forty years and no one's ever thought to reexamine those laws because up until now it's never been an issue," Baily said.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife is now trying to come up with a plan to preserve octopus in the area. Officials are considering banning octopus hunting throughout the state or designating Seacrest Park as a marine protected area.
At a Thursday Fish and Wildlife meeting, Mayor admitted his kill was a mistake and said he supports a ban
"I did not know that that place was so loved by the divers, otherwise I wouldn't have done it," he said.
Five thousand divers signed an online petition supporting a ban at the park, which attracts divers from around the world.
Fish and Wildlife is planning to hold meetings this winter so the public can weigh in on the options.
Below is a link to the video also posted on KOMO News.