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Underwater Journal’s latest issue is available

Discussion in 'Scuba Industry News' started by Walt Stearns, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. Walt Stearns

    Walt Stearns Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Palm Beach Florida
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    “FYI – Issue 4 (UWJ-issue4.pdf) of the Underwater Journal is now available for download.

    INSIDE:
    Pacific’s Giant Octopus
    Destin Jetties – A simple shore dive that can offer plenty of fun.
    Jupiter’s Hole-in-the-Wall – Deep water, big thrills
    Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary – More there than meets the eye.
    Out of the Gear Bag - Suprema LED Target Light
    DVD Review – Discover California Diving
    REEF Survey in the Exumas


    Click: www.underwaterjournal.com followed by Download Latest Issue (UWJ-issue4.pdf) from our home page.“

    Also, be sure to tell a friend.
     
  2. aue-mike

    aue-mike Manta Ray

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    Walt-
    I will decline discussing some of the other opinions and misleading statements in your editorial, but there is one point that is blatantly wrong that I need to bring to your (and your readers) attention. You state:

    Simply and obviously not so.

    The status report on goliath grouper can be read here:
    http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdf/Final_Status_Report_on_the_Goliath_Grouper.pdf

    It states several times that the report focused solely on the continental U.S. population of the species, and it states the following about the historical range of that population (page 1):

    There is significant discussion on historial range and information on abundance (e.g., New York Times artcle from 1895 on goliath grouper caught off Texas, etc.) throughout the document. Here is a closing summary on the issue (page 22):

    With documented observations of specimens off Texas and North Carolina, and elsewhere, (which I tried to discuss with you, but you apparently brushed off as not possible since you personally did not see them on your recent dive trip to NC), the report states in the summary (on page 2):

    Again, to be crystal clear, for the purposes of the status report, historical range specific to the continental U.S. population is Texas through North Carolina.

    Now, should you want to make a point about it not recovering to historical abundance throughout its historical range, I don't think anyone would argue with you. But that is a very different issue...

    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  3. Capt.Rich

    Capt.Rich Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: St. Pete,Fl
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    Mr. Stearns,
    It appears you did did not come away from the Goliath Grouper meeting nearly as enlightened as many others did.
    There are numerous innacuracies in this article that need to be rectified.
    First... Commercial industry representatives and leaders have stated emphatically time and again that they do NOT want anything to do with any type of GG harvest.
    So without a commercial market for meat there is little incentive for widespread poaching.

    Second... Claims by environmental extremists of widespread poaching are un-substantiated and unprooven.
    There have certainly been individual cases of poaching reported on GG just as there are isolated reports of poaching on other species as well.

    Third... Claims that GG are not abundant in there historical ranges around the world are correct but I'm not sure what this argument has to do with events in the United States???
    Other countries are fishing ALL of there fish to dangerously low levels.
    They have extremely poor management and even poorer enforcement.
    In addition... "your" claims certainly go against this government report:

    The status report on goliath grouper can be read here:
    http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdf/Fin...th_Grouper.pdf

    Fourth... I'm really disturbed by your seeming disdain for spearfishing.
    You "claim" that you used to be a spearfisherman but I find that highly unlikely.
    If you did, then you would know that spearfishing is the most selective form of harvest there is. There is virtually no bycatch or waste because a spearfisherman can see exactly what type of fish he is targeting as well as the size.
    And, there is virtually no damage to essential fish habitat.

    Fifth... You claim that there are "other" ways to collect needed scientific data.
    I somewhat agree but as you heard at the meeting, these methods are very limited and may not yield the results needed or claimed.
    A perfect example is "Fin Rays" for aging.
    Fin Rays work well for juvenile fish up to about 6 years old. Beyond that age the rays become cloudy and un-useable in which case otolith samples must be used for ageing.
    You also claim that fish from Red tide events should be used for study.
    I agree entirely but you seem to have
    this misconception of widespread GG deaths during these events.
    I live near Tampa Bay Florida which was the scene of one of the worst Red Tide outbreaks several years ago. I drove my boat around at length looking at the types of fish killed.
    I only saw one GG floating in the bay.
    IN addition... these events are very random and only occur every few years at different locations.
    It was pointed out in the meeting that the information we have on young individuals (less than 6 years old) is fairly extensive although limited geographically to South West Florida.
    Unfortunately... the data on large animals is severely lacking.

    And finnaly... you seem to have the mistaken belief that spearfisherman and anglers are some bloodthirsty lot looking for the extermination of Goliath Grouper.
    This is quite simply laughable. Nearly all fisherman are sportsman.
    NOBODY wants to see GG taken down to dangerously low levels ever again!
    I personnaly think that a big GG is one of the coolest fish to see underwater and I want my son to enjoy the things I have seen and done underwater.

    Nobody is seeking to "annihilate these fish by illegal means or legal loopholes" and for you to insinuate otherwise is both offensive and uneducated.

    There is much we do not know about GG that we need to learn.
    It was stated that the last GG assesment in 2004 showed a very wide cone of uncertainty with regards to GG recovery.
    On one side of the cone it showed that GG may be recovered to the benchmark of 50% Spawning Potential Ratio several years ago. On the other side of the cone it could be that GG may never recover to 50% SPR!
    We obviously need to develop better science with which to make sound management decisions. The way to do that is to harvest enough animals to gain that knowledge.
    Just like they do with every other fish...
     
  4. Rick Murchison

    Rick Murchison Trusty Shellback Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Gulf of Mexico
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    :D The article on the Destin Jetties is by our very own SeaYoda!
    Good Job!
    Rick
     
  5. Dr. Doug Ebersole

    Dr. Doug Ebersole Instructor, Scuba Staff Member

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    Excellent issue, as always, Walt !!!!
     
  6. Jax Diver

    Jax Diver Angel Fish

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    Walt:
    Excellent article on the Goliath Grouper. We see a few off Jax., but not what anyone would consider an "overabundance." It is interesting that these fish are considered critically endangered everywhere else in their range, outside of the Southeast US. This is one of our few fisheries success stories, yet there are some that don't see it that way and view them more of an annoyance and want to "thin our the herd" in South Florida waters. I enjoy seeing them, even when I am spearfishing. Once in a while they grab a speared fish, but it is all part of spearfishing.
     
  7. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver

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    I agree. It was a great article and great pictures! Everyone here should check it out. I think it was page 13 of the magazine.

    Great job SeaYoda!
     
  8. snepdiver

    snepdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southeast US
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    Page 16. Good article. If you are looking for a dive buddy for Destin, He is almost always the guy.

    Thanks SeaYoda. Good article and great pictures, As usual.
     
  9. Screen Name

    Screen Name Garibaldi

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    Seems to me that some distortions are being propagated by a few people.

    I have been diving the Eastern GOM from the Panhandle to the Tortugas throughout the year for over 20 years. In recent years I have spent roughly 2000 hours annually on the Eastern GOM. I know very little about other regions and would not comment on them.

    My observations are this:

    • Jewfish are the only reef fish protected from harvest.
    • The Eastern GOM has a widespread abundant population of Jewfish. In many places, Jewfish outnumber every other species of Grouper.
    • At one time, Jewfish populations may have been diminished in near-shore areas that were frequently visited. But using the word “extinct” is a gross exaggeration and nowhere close to the kind of objective science that most citizens expect. It is hard to imagine that there can be so many large fish less than 20 years after they were “near extinction”.
    • Spearfishermen have been falsely portrayed as devastating Jewfish populations. The documented fact is that more Jewfish by far have been caught by other means.
    • There were plenty of large Jewfish in the Tampa area, even when the protections were implemented. I was not aware that there was a shortage.
    • It seems that the proliferation of these dominant fish, or whatever you want to call these large animals, could be damaging the ecosystem by dominating food and habitat.
    • Gulf divers who have spent a lot of time in the water have noticed this shift. Some have even observed a rapid reduction of other fish once Jewfish inherit a spot.

    Divers, even spearfishermen, don’t want anything to do with the demise of Jewfish, nor do they want a negative image. We simply want a rational analysis of the situation to be done and sound regulations to be employed.

    Bill Parks, Walt Stearns, and some of the previously named activist scientists are trying to paint us as the bad guys. Regardless of what happens now, I feel confident that eventually science will establish the facts. If there is a scientific case, right now, that Jewfish must be protected, why has that not been presented? Is it equally possible that this protection has damaged the ecological balance of the GOM? Many experienced divers and fishermen think so, and in the interest of preservation, they want this question answered scientifically.

    In order to determine this, the scientists feel that a scientific take is required. That's not the diver's idea or initiative.......we just happen to believe, based on our experience, that there is no risk whatsoever to this species.

    But there is a lot to gain for the health of the Eastern GOM in general.

    Sincerely,

    John Schmidt, Tampa Bay
     
  10. reefgirl64

    reefgirl64 Scuba Chixs Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Arkansas
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    wow, love the article on the Destin Jetties! We've been going there for around 13 yrs. now, stay at the Jetty East. Love fishing off the jetties and done some snorkeling, but never have actually dived. We'll definitely try it the next time. Thanks for the great article, SeaYoda.
     

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