Editorial 100

Celebrating 100 issues

For any magazine that promotes a niche sport such as diving to publish 100 issues is quite an achievement! We started formulating the magazine in the final months in 1990 – 16 years ago. It was a personal, ‘travel down memory lane’ for me and the team as we started to look through all the past magazines. It really was a mission to try and put together a brief glimpse into the history of diving that has been featured in the pages of the magazine. Please turn to page 37 for 17 pages devoted to our magazine’s diving history.

Marine environment still taking a hammering

As many of you know the magazine has a green tinge to it. From the very first issue December 1990/January 1991 we have discussed and featured many articles about the health of the planet’s marine environment. You cannot but be amazed and humbled by the stunning living colour images published showing the diversity of life within our oceans. After looking through 99 issues of the magazine it became very clear to me that as far as looking after the marine environment, very little has changed over the years. In-fact the marine environment is worse off now than is was16 years ago.

In New Zealand and I guess elsewhere in the world there are a few exceptions. The most noticeable are the amazing beneficial effects of ‘no take marine reserves’ have had both on the environment and on the public perception and appreciation of the marine environment.

Reserves have shown that marine life can recover to its former abundance if man is prevented from hunting in them. They have also shown, much to some skeptics surprise, that businesses can make money if they are based near a marine reserve.

Apart from reserves there has been little to drink champagne about. During the 16 years there has been a massive explosion in technology. Today you can drive your boat to a pin prick on the maps of the oceans and know you will find it without too much fuss. In the past such spots were rarely fished but now these remote pinnacles which, were in a way mini reserves, are fished till the lines come up empty.

Over the years politicians have postured and made noises about what they are doing or going to do for the marine environment, but in reality they achieve very little – it seems fishing interests are writing their speeches!

Do you want to make some money

with a bookie?

Place a bet that New Zealand’s North Island Maui dolphin will be extinct in 20 years. New Zealand can then proudly tell the world that we sat on our hands – did the talk – which is very important while a dolphin species that is only found in New Zealand became extinct. Their South Island cousins the Hectors dolphin are not faring much better. We are advised, thirty years ago there were 30,000 Hectors and Maui dolphins now there are just 7,000 Hectors and 100 Maui!

Once again the politicians and local councils are posturing and making all the right noises. Sadly it’s a joke. This magazine has run numerous articles over at least the last 10 years about the plight of the Hectors and Maui dolphin. Various conservation groups have made sure that the Government and local councils are aware of the dolphin’s plight. But unless the Government gets serious nothing is going to change.

It is as plain as day what needs to be done – a total ban on set and gill nets around New Zealand – not just a few token kilometres off the west coast of the North Island

I can hear the screaming already – get real Dave, that is not going to happen, the fishing lobby is too strong. All I can say is that countries such as Australia, USA, Canada and South Africa have done just that and they do not have a Hectors or Maui dolphin to protect from extinction.

We have all heard for years New Zealand’s Conservation ministers condemning the Japanese for their whaling – which they should – can’t lose any votes on that topic!

So will the current Ministers, Chris Carter, Conservation and Jim Anderton, Fisheries make any hard /unpopular decisions? I will place my bet now, as history tells me that the meetings will happen, discussions will carry on. The Ministers will not make the hard/vote losing decisions and – hello – no Maui dolphins to be found – oh no, how did that happen – gosh let’s have a meeting about how we can save the South Island Hectors dolphin!

That reminds me I must also place a bet on the Hectors dolphin being extinct in 30 years – I wonder if I can place a quinella?

With the magazine now being distributed into 10 countries: New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines and Fiji. I welcome you to our 100th issue.

The magazine’s team work tirelessly to bring you an informative, thought-provoking, educational and entertaining magazine. I trust you enjoy this historical issue. We live on a beautiful blue planet – get out there an experience some of its treasures and adventures.

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