TAKEN – from your local dive site
What would your reaction be if you headed down to your local park, waterhole or nature reserve to enjoy some interaction with the local wildlife and then happen to notice people trapping and catching birds, reptiles and whatever else they can get their hands on? I bet you wouldn’t like it. Well that’s is what is happening right here at our local dive sites.
They go under the name of aquarium collectors and can be seen at all times of the day/night taking the marine life from away from our local dive sites.
Having dived much of the South Pacific and the east coast of Australia I am constantly amazed by the diversity and range at my local dive spot, which is the Gold Coast seaway. This site extends from the east points of the seaway walls back to Wavebreak Island and down to SeaWorld.
While the majority of the dive community including myself pay good money and travel 1000’s of kilometres for the chance to see rare and beautiful underwater marine life, it still astounds me that right at my door step, and accessible to everyone is a place that also is home to many of these fascinating creatures we seek to find. During my many dives around the Gold Coast seaway I have encountered just to name a few, Ornate Ghost and Robust Pipefish, Angler Fish, Mantis Shrimp, Seahorses, Angel/Emperor fish. Many of these marine creatures are on the top of divers list of subjects to see and photograph.
However there is a dark side to having this diversity and something that quickly needs to be changed to conserve and protect this unique area, allowing it to grow without the constant threat and destruction from marine collectors.
Many a time I have spent diving the seaway and come across creatures such as seahorses, Anemone fish and Pineapple fish, to name a few, only to have these marine creature taken by fish collectors to be sold to what is an outdated and obsolete aquarium industry. These marine creatures should be for everyone to enjoy in their natural environment and not be taken to be sold just to fill peoples back pockets.
For instance most of these species are not prolific breeders and tend to live in pairs for the majority of their lives. So taking just one species can set back breeding for years. Most of the marine life that are taken from the wild have a slim chance of survival in the aquariums anyway as most need to live in their natural ecosystem that is suited to them. This also applies to the marine habitat such as anemone, soft coral and sponges etc that most of the marine life call home and need to survive. They are also an important part of a delicate ecosystem and should be protected at all cost.
So next time you see a lonely Anemone fish or Banded shrimp stuck in a small fish tank at the back of somebody’s lounge room or a hotel foyer just remember they most likely have been TAKEN from your local dive site
Video captured at the Gold Coast seaway where divers and snorkelers enter the water to dive with the marine life