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July 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 43, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Harassing Animals and Coral to Attract Business

from the July, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Steve Cohen (Annandale, VA) wrote to Undercurrent to report bad diving practices by a dive center in the Philippines. He writes, "Not only do they post pictures of their customers sitting on coral, grabbing coral, harassing undersea life and so on, on their social media page, they also advertise, 'Come chase cuttlefish, turtles etc.' Their operation is aimed at brand-new and very inexperienced divers. Ignorant or stupid, or both?"

Since writing to us, Cohen says Pink Turtle Dive has removed the pictures of divers sitting on coral that were shared to the Scuba Diving group on its Facebook page. Undercurrent has seen some of them, and they appear to be inexperienced divers (often without fins) probably on 'discover scuba' experiences and being handled by dive guides.

Have you ever dived with this operation or anyone like it? Let us hear from you. Clearly, they are out of step with current thinking regarding conservation, but we remember an old video clip of that famous Aussie, Valerie Taylor, that went viral on Facebook after people, unaware of whom she was or how old the clip was, saw footage of her handling a large moray eel. Times change. Cousteau's old movies featured his divers riding turtles, even blowing up the reef and worse, but he was still responsible for a lot of us becoming intrigued with the underwater world.

While we're tempted to shame this dive operation, let's just educate them. In their part of the world, conservation standards and concern for animals haven't caught up with what we know we must do to preserve our oceans and critters. Pink Turtle Dive and many other operators in third world countries -- needs to wake up to the real need to protect our degraded oceans and its disappearing animals.

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