Doug Biffard, a Marine Biologist who does volunteer work with Reef Dot Org was up to DiveSafe International this past weekend and conducted the Level 2 and Level 3 surveyors course. The course is a free one, which involves some classroom work, and then if you are a certified scuba diver, there can be one or two dives conducted in conjunction with the training.
Saturday’s training had Doug explaining why the diving in the Pacific Northwest is so diverse, and amazing. Also, during this session we are introduced into the various Fish and Invertebrates that can be found in our local waters.
On day two, we headed out on the boat for a dive at Lone Tree one of our many awesome dive sites, where we encountered many different rock fish, Greenling, Giant Pacific Octopus and even a Shark (Dog Shark).
DiveSafe is going to have Doug back up in late September, or early October for our next Reef Course, so if you are interested be sure to get a hold of DiveSafe to book your seat. What do you have to loose…after all its FREE for the classroom sessions!!
UWE was out for another weekend conducting Reef Dot Org survey dives. Mikey T and I were over on Quadra Island diving at Rebecca Spit, Specifically to do this months surveys. We conducted the first dive on the inside of the spit at the harbour near to the boat launch. The visibility was easily 3 feet in spots, and then others 0 and 0. But its all good…take your time, and you will be surprised what you can see…and how great your camera shots will be, even though there is a ton of stuff in the water.
Dive two was on the outside of the spit, and visibility was a little better, and the temperatures were maybe 5 degrees warmer. We were on a rocky reef, right down where the kelp and sand met up…we were treated in 100’s of tube snouts schooling, with a couple of Red Irish Lords being present and even a SailFin Sculpin…overall it was a great great dive!
What makes the dive even more fun is the fact that you are in only 20 feet of water, and you can make it last forever….if you are good on air. So, if you are interested in taking a “FREE” Reef course, be sure to contact UWE and we will hook you up on one!
If you were to Google “Abalone” you would find many sites that discuss how threatened this Mollusk is or what amazing recipes that can be used for cooking these little guys up. So, I thought I would include some interesting facts about what is happening and maybe, just maybe you will get in there and help protect these guys.
Firstly, here are some facts about the Abalone;
sexes are separate;
they broadcast spawn, with the release of 10,000 eggs or more;
eggs hatch as microscopic living larvae. it drifts with currents for about a week then the abalone larvae settle to bottom, if suitable habitat is located it may grow to adulthood, mortality still probably exceeds 99%; and
predators, eggs, and larvae are eaten by filter feeding animals, juveniles are threatened by crabs, lobsters, octopi, starfish, fish and predatory snails, while larger adult abalone predators are fish such as the Cabezon, bat rays, and sea otters
In the last 20 years, the commercial catch of abalone worldwide has declined from 18,000mt to a little over 10, 000mt. Below are listed 6 major reasons for the decline. Number 5 (Illegal harvesting) is by far the largest and most important reason for the decline.
Mortality of small abalone
Competition, Sea urchins and other species, utilizing abalone food and living space
Loss of habitat
Here is an exert from the Times Colonist discussing in-depth Illegal Harvesting, so be sure to take a read it is very interesting!
Poachers biggest threat to endangered abalone
DFO asks for the public’s help in watching for suspicious divers
By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist. March 20, 2010
The wetsuited killers often hang out in rocky inlets or deserted beaches, where there are few witnesses, but the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is hoping eagle-eyed observers will help stop the destruction of a species. Read More