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Need some facts for an environmental project

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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Dear forum dwellers.

A friend of mine is doing a project to raise environmental awareness for Israeli divers - something in the sorts of pretty pics with "Corals are living creatures" signs to be spread around in dive clubs.

She is in the need for some facts and she asked me if I could help finding out some.
The problem is that there are lots of rumours and stories and "urban myths" presented as facts around in the diving community (world wide), not to mention igonrance. So she needs REAL facts, not just a seem-to-be-true rumour or rumours that will result in an environmentally correct result but are not entirely true.

1) What is the physiological basis behind not touching any fish?
Rumour says something about a protective mucos that comes off.

2) How long can a turtle stay without breath?
Reports go from a few minturs to hours. We're talking about red-sea turtles.
There's a problem with that since it seems that our presence is sometimes stressful and thus they won't come up for air as much as they would otherwise, maybe following a turtles for more than a few minutes is not a good idea? Not to mention some people ride them! :duh

3) What is the damage being caused (if any) by making a blow-fish inflate?
I heard that they can only do that for a few times in their lives and that they might die from the result. Someone else heard that they can't do it for more than 10 times. Some one who works in some lab said they can do it endlessly. Meanwhile it seems like everyone who ones a camera inflate them at will. we need the facts.

She has more ideas but will be glad to adress as many issues as possible. Hopefully it'll become a nation-wide project, depends on sponsers and diving community's cooperation. I might be able to post some of the end-products here.

She intends to meet with preffessionals to run those facts with before going public, but she needs to show them the project as close to finish as possible.

If you have some UNBASED rumours you can post as well, it's time to find out the truth, but please state in you are not confident with that info.
 

island_sands

Erection Supervisor ;)
Supporter
Jan 19, 2001
7,998
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DeepThought said:
1) What is the physiological basis behind not touching any fish?
Rumour says something about a protective mucos that comes off.

2) How long can a turtle stay without breath?
Reports go from a few minturs to hours. We're talking about red-sea turtles.
There's a problem with that since it seems that our presence is sometimes stressful and thus they won't come up for air as much as they would otherwise, maybe following a turtles for more than a few minutes is not a good idea? Not to mention some people ride them! :duh


Hi D-T...

just a small comment from a small person...
the Maldivians have been living with and touching, teasing, playing with their fish, like Napoleon wrasses, sharks, rays, stonefish etc for centuries and no known damage has been caused. for them, touching fish is like us having pets. I know a couple of people who keep frogfish as pets in their lagoons. Telling the Maldivians that they can't touch their fish is like telling us we can pet other people's dogs. :duh

I do know that touching stingrays with gloves can harm the surfactant on their skin.

red-sea turtles... which species? hawksbill, green turtle etc.

i can give your friend stacks of info on corals.. i received a couple of publications about coral "replanting" a few months back. i can give her the details of those books.

it sounds like a great project... personally i don't think that people should purposely make a puffer fish inflate for the camera... poor buggers. I will try to find out some good facts. There are some great ICHTHYOLOGY (sp?) websites with loads of info on that.

on the subject of breathholding.. do you know off-hand how long whales can hold their breath?
 
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DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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So so far it doesn't seem like there's too much of a physiological basis of not touching fishes... Though I guess that from a conservational point of view it is still better to ask only to look and not touch.

I think that the coral thing is covered for now touching=bad, no doubt.
What about raising silt? I've heard different point of views on that before.

I'm not sure which turtles live in our red-sea. I've seen only one (twice on the same site), but I guess it's becuase I didn't go to the right places. I'll try to find a picture. Those species you mentioned sound like my guess though. :)

On the subject of breatholding and whales, I guess it depends alot on the specie and type of activity.
I've been whale-watching once off the east coast of the US. Have seen only one whale (fin-back) which was feeding. It dove for about 4-5 minutes each time to about 40 meters (boat sounder said so I guess).
Although only one whale, we saw a super-pod of atlantic white stripe dolphins (I think that was the name) - over 100 of them. They were eating and once the boat passed by they started frolicing on the waves it made doing acrobatics and such so the boat started going in circles.

10x Shadow! I found lots of small itneresting things in that site, including one answer:
How often can a porcupinefish inflate?

Can anyone think of more issues of environmentally harming ignorance that is common among the diving community?
 

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Can't help you, except on number one. All fish have a layer of mucus outside the skin. It's like the outer layer of a person's skin and is constantly sloughing off and being replaced. Touching a fish can rub away this mucus layer and allow entry of bacteria and other organisms that may be detrimental to the fish, just like you getting a mild scrape on your skin. Most (probably some exceptions) fish in good condition can tolerate a certain amount of touching without ill effects, but, in general, its not a great idea for the fish. Plus, touching is probably pretty stressful for most fish, too much like predation or territorial agression, entirely aside from the effect on their skin. In general, for a lot of reasons "look but don't touch", is a good rule.

Most of the other questions should be answerable with a google search.

Connor
 

Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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From an Animal psychology point of view:

Domestic animals such as Cats or Dogs enjoy being petted (mostly) because it mimics the grooming behaviour exhibited by such species amongst their own kind. Stroking your cat makes it believe its getting a bath. Another behavioural trait is scent marking and pack bonding. When your cat is rubbing its face against yours, its marking you as a member of its pride. I'm not sure what your dogs thinks it doing when humping your leg... :duh

Fish are different. Their behaviour patterns involve communication using body language and colouration. Agressive moves such as swimming directly towards a fish, or sudden movement is usually viewed as a prelude to attack. A fish that is used to being fed by humans, like Cod or Groper, may well tolerate being touched, but despite the claims in diving magazines, is unlikely to "enjoy" their chance at "meaningful" contact with humans. One famous diver claimed after her dive with sharks off Sydney that "they wanted to be my friend". Ludicrous... rofl

Keep in mind too, that fish have extremely sensitive lateral lines, used to detect vibrations. A hearty slap, like one would give a horse, is unlikely to be seen as friendly.

I follow a simple rule: Unless I'm going to eat it, I'm not touching it.

What I think of scuba divers I see poking and prodding cuttlefish until they display their alarm colours, is likely to be censored, so Im not going to bother... :rcard
 

Amphibious

Working Class Spearo
Mar 17, 2002
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Shadowkiller said:
I follow a simple rule: Unless I'm going to eat it, I'm not touching it.


That about sums it up! good advice. When I was a Dive MAster we used to have a "no gloves" rule. if you dove off our boat you did not wear gloves. major deterance for folks to fondle the local wildlife.
 

Adrian

Deeper Blue Beachcomber
Supporter
Nov 23, 2002
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Shadowkiller said:
From an Animal psychology point of view:
I'm not sure what your dogs thinks it doing when humping your leg... :duh

Was this octopus simply humping my leg?
Was it being territorial?
Was I a possible food source?
Was it looking for a meaningful relationship? :D

The other day we were in the water and as we came out there was a pretty territorial octopus very near the shoreline. (1 meter away.) It was either very stupid, or very brave. The fun part is that it came right up to my foot and wrapped itself around my ankle. It was a lot of fun. :) I lifted my foot out of the water to make it drop off and we let it be. It's lair was under a large rock just a couple of feet away.

Here's a pic:
 

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bdurrett

Colorado Transplant
Sep 19, 2002
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Adrian said:
Was this octopus simply humping my leg?
Was it being territorial?
Was I a possible food source?
Was it looking for a meaningful relationship? :D


Naaaaah.... it was just horny and your foot was


Lookin' Good!

rofl rofl rofl
 

Adrian

Deeper Blue Beachcomber
Supporter
Nov 23, 2002
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That was a fast reply Bret, to my octopus. I think it may have been politically motivated. :D

Adrian
 

bdurrett

Colorado Transplant
Sep 19, 2002
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Adrian said:
That was a fast reply Bret, to my octopus. I think it may have been politically motivated. :D

Adrian


What? My reply or the octopus? rofl rofl

I am just about to shut down the PC and go home..... so I figured I would pop in for a quick look at the Forums....
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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Kewl photo Adirian.
My father has a photo taken in the late 70's probably, standing in the shallows somewhere in Sinai (red-sea) with 70's style scuba equipment on him holding in his hand (outside of the water) his one-lense rubber with metal frame diving mask with an octopuss clinging on it. They are quite persistent sometimes when they fall inlove. Like people. :)
red-sea turtles... which species? hawksbill, green turtle etc.
My friend found some hebrew link to asnwer that.
The ones in the Israeli part of the red-sea are Eretmochelys imbricata, I know their common hebrew name but not the english one though I think it's hawksbill. Anyone happen to know?
That site says that turtles can sepnd hours underwater and even weeks during hibernation, but if they are active then it's 15-20 minutes. I guess that the presence of a diver cuts that down.

It is agreed that touching wildlife (and not food) is not a good thing generally, thank you for your support. :)

If anyone has any more ideas about diving related activities that are environmentally harmful then feel free to post...
 

Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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DeepThought said:
The ones in the Israeli part of the red-sea are Eretmochelys imbricata, I know their common hebrew name but not the english one though I think it's hawksbill. Anyone happen to know?

You are correct, its a Hawksbill Turtle.

Diver related Problems:
Here in Oz we have a dive site called Julian Rocks. Its got some of the most southern coral in the country. Dive operators use a clearly defined "pathway" on their dives, resulting in a near wasteland of broken and destroyed coral. A study was done on the incidence of diver contact with coral and the results were pretty eye opening. Scuba divers can/do have a major impact on dive sites. The biggest problem is bad boyancy control, resulting in fin or hand contact with fragile marine growth. The study didnt look at deliberate souvenir hunting.

Let me know if you want the details of the study, but Im not sure if its avaible online. I have a book of collected marine bio papers.
 

DeepThought

Freediving Sloth
Sep 8, 2002
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10x. It's on the list. (buoyancy and souveneering)

The signs are supposed to be eye-catching (=pretty picture of some underwater nature) and trying to pass the each conservation message (one message per sign) as fast as possible (otherwise it might be ignored). So I don't think they'll cite any research but will keep that in mind.
 

Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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How about this for a sign:

"You touch the fish, we touch you. You won't like it, neither do they!"

:)
 
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