By Dave Moran
A few weeks ago I received a letter from conservationist and author, Wade Doak (see letters to the editor) bringing my attention to New Zealand supporting the sale of Great White Shark jaws and teeth. Wade was distressed that our closest neighbour, Australia, has legislation protecting the Great White while in New Zealand we are actively promoting their capture by offering âtop cash paidâ. Cash is also being offered for shark fins, seahorses and sea dragons.
It is hard to believe we are in the year 2000. Then again I guess things are still as they have been for centuries, people seem to believe it is their God given right to plunder and pollute the planetâs oceans, and if there is a profit to be made that makes it even better!
In contrast to New Zealand, Australia is making good tourism dollars by keeping their sharks alive. I had a telephone call from Rodney Foxâs team in South Australia absolutely buzzing with excitement about Great Whites becoming regular visitors to their ship the Falie off the Neptune Islands. The âno showâ days of the mid 1990s were virtually distant memories. Divers are paying AUD$5,500 to see these free-swimming sharks that are now turning up time and time again and they ask for no pay, just the occasional feed!
As divers we must try to halt this trade which is feeding the trophy mentality and aphrodisiac markets of the world. Letâs start by cleaning up our own backyard first. Write to Sandra Lee, Minister of Conservation, Freepost, Parliament Buildings, Wellington. For copies of advertisements, contact our office.
A scuba diver can make it to the top! Congratulations to Wellingtonian Bill Day for receiving this yearâs prestigious award âEntrepreneur of the Yearâ. Many of you will have fond memories of the Little Mermaid when you dived the Russian liner Mikhail Lermontov.
That was Billâs first commercial dive boat. He now has a fleet of four boats and has just ordered another, worth $26 million, to continue expanding his company Seaworksâ ability to lay undersea cables, salvage sunken ships, ROV surveys and oil platform support.
Bill still loves his adventures and has a wee niggle in the back of his mind to have another crack at finding the elusive wreck of the General Grant at the Auckland Islands after his after past expeditions in 1986, 1996 and 1998.
Letâs hope he can find the time to have another crack at it.
The Oceanz 2000 photographic awards dinner held recently was once again an evening of stunning images from photographers around the world. Like many there, I find it a night to rekindle the spark of why we go diving. The animals, adventure, discoveries, natureâs exhilarating tapestry and the camaraderie experienced with fellow divers.Thanks to the photographers, the Oceans committee and sponsors for once again keeping the reason why we dive alight. Iâll be back next year.
I recently received a letter from the Wellington Underwater Club advising that they are to celebrate their 50th anniversary over Labour Weekend, 20-22 October 2000. It makes you realise that this country has a long history of diving when such events start to occur. I wonder if those keen divers back in the early 1950s could have imagined the gear that divers take for granted these days. The next 50 years I am sure will bring equipment changes that we can hardly imagine. Letâs all individually do our bit to ensure the environment is at least as healthy or hopefully better than it is today for divers of the future to enjoy what we have today. For details of the 50th anniversary celebration contact Michael Ryland, ph 0-4-384 9542 or fax 0-4-384 6798.
Have you lost your dive gear?
Some dive gear has been found in the Glendowie Auckland area. If this could be yours, contact Ray or Judy on 0-9-575 5693.
Daylight savings is just about here, plan now to enjoy it.