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Book Review: Freshwater Fishes of Britain

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The Author

Jack Perks

Review by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

freshwater-fish-frontcover-finalWhilst it may seem a strange book to be reviewing in the photography section of Scubaverse, underwater photography in freshwater lakes, rivers and streams, has become far more popular than it was in the last few years. The publication of this book, along with the work that Paul Colley has been doing with his remotely fired underwater cameras, has certainly made a few people pay attention to the wildlife that lives in our freshwater habitats.

The book is very reasonably priced at £16.99 and its finish and presentation is what you would expect in a book published by Reed New Holland. The book is full of great images that must have taken time and dedication to capture, as there are some 56 species covered in these pages. The content of the book is made up with a dedication, a forward, an introduction and a short guide to fish twitching. Most of the fish that you are likely to see in UK waters are covered, including a few oddities and variants, which Jack talks about towards the end of the book. Jack also talked about fish conservation and how most of our rivers are in very poor condition with only 17% of them classified as being in good health. Pollution is a major threat to fish, and this includes the oils and toxins that are washed off the road, the pesticides and herbicides that are leached into the rivers off agricultural land and micro-plastics and contraceptives flushed into the water supply which alters the biology of the fish. He also talks about invasive species, such as Signal Crayfish, which devour the eggs and fry of our native fish.

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The book is well-written and all species are illustrated with at least one photograph and includes a brief description of the species, including details of the main distinguishing features habitat and breeding habits. The book is also littered with interesting facts about many of the individual species, such as why the Tench is sometimes called the doctor fish.

The book is an easy read by a wildlife photographer who has written and photographically illustrated dozens of articles for magazines such as BBC wildlife. He is a lecturer at Nottingham University for the MSc biological photography and image course so you can assume the knowledge he is passing on to the readers is well researched. I come for one, really enjoyed reading this book and it has inspired me to get my underwater photography gear into some freshwater streams.

Freshwater Fishes of Britain by Jack Perks is published by Reed New Holland at £16.99, hardback, and available from all good bookshops, Amazon or call 01206-255777.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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Announcing the Winners of Scubaverse’s November 2022 Underwater Photo & Video Contests

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Another bumper month packed with amazing images and videos from around the world! It has certainly been another great month for entries in both contests – your underwater photos and videos are just getting better and better! Thanks to all who entered.

To find out who the winner of Scubaverse.com’s November 2022 Underwater Photo Contest is, click here.

To find out who the winner of Scubaverse.com’s November 2022 Underwater Video Contest is, click here.

If you’re not a winner this month, then please do try again. December’s photo and video contests are now open.

To enter Scubaverse.com’s December 2022 Underwater Photo Contest, click here.

To enter Scubaverse.com’s December 2022 Underwater Video Contest, click here.

Good luck!!!

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Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Refreshing Skills

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A hugely important subject, and one that should be considered by any diver regardless of your training level. Just like anything, sometimes life gets in the way, we get sidetracked and before you know it, it’s been 2 months out of the water. It may not seem like a lot, but we naturally start to forget things when they are not used. We slow down our actions as we are out of practise and have to think a little more in order to retrieve the information to help make decisions.

There’s nothing wrong with this of course, we cannot always be diving! But it is important that we refresh before getting straight back into it. We obviously conduct a lot of refresher courses here at the dive centre, but we are also realistic, knowing that not everyone will want to pay to refresh their skills with an instructor. That’s also fine too, just be sensible.

Our tips for this would be the following; some will likely seem a little common sense… but it’s always good to have a reminder right?!

First off, when getting back to diving, choose a buddy that you usually dive with or someone that has a higher level of competency in diving. This will give you the reassurance in the water and not have to be worrying about the others person whilst getting back into it yourself.

Secondly, choose a site that you know. Don’t be jumping straight in having seen an amazing new site that you want to try out… that can wait for another time. You have already had a break in your actual diving, without having to then also consider navigating and a new dive plan.

Next, try to leave out the brand new equipment. It’s great that getting back into diving you have decided to buy yourself a new drysuit, fins and BCD, but it all might be a little bit much. Let’s concentrate on just getting back into the water and then move onto those new additions. This kind of change can make even the best of divers anxious.

Last but not least, there’s nothing wrong with staying shallow. Our first dive to get back into it, does not need to break our dive depth record. Stay shallow, enjoy the marine life at this depth, and keep the dive nice and easy. Practise those skills if you would like to, make sure you know where all your equipment is positioned and get comfortable. The ocean isn’t going anywhere… there’s always tomorrow to get in for another!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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