By Dave Moran
In this issue we continue to look at the aluminium cylinder issue which is of major concern for most divers and the dive industry. Some dive shops have now decided to take a stand by not filling certain scuba cylinders. OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) Dangerous Goods Section has initiated a labeling policy for scuba cylinders.
Some divers and fishermen just love marine reserves. The crays are big and plentiful and virtually climb into your cray bag, while the fish just about commit hari-kari on your fish hooks. For DOC, people plundering our marine reserves is all to common. With their limited resources they can be congratulated for the work they do to keep greedy fingers out of marine reserves.
One of the Dive New Zealand team was recently diving Goat Island Marine Reserve and disturbed two divers busily stuffing crays into a catch bag. The two offending divers were approached by Leigh Marine Laboratory staff and their details taken. In the past offenders have got away without being convicted by declaring they did not know the law, or insufficient or incorrect details were recorded at the time of the offense. Training of volunteer fishing inspectors on what information is required to make a conviction stick has greatly improved DOC’s success rate in court.
A recent bust at the Poor Knights by DOC officers in kayaks and wet suits during the night must be applauded. Six local people in two boats were caught with their hands on their rods, and with over 70 snapper and some trevally on board. Some of them pleaded customary fishing rights which the local IWI have not supported. It is great that common sense sees these individuals for what they are – just plain greedy! They are now finding it harder to hide behind cracks in the law and within their own communities. Some Auckland Dive Schools should also question some of the training they are doing at Goat Island. DOC have advised that some dive schools actually teach their students how to catch crays in the reserve! In fact, when one intimidating student was asked to return crays he refused and threatened to pull a knife on the lab staff. After the years of effort put in to establish marine reserves I wonder where some of these instructors come from. If instructors cannot lead by example in showing conservation ethics to new students, then they should get out of instructing. The dive industry will be better off without them.
Roll on summer
- Dave Moran