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Kissing Frogfish

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frogfish

It was my last dive of the day. The last few minutes of the dive and the last dive of the trip. I felt distracted by the scale and scope of the coral on this dive (Chicken Reef) in Raja Ampat from looking for the small things. And maybe tired too after 10 days of liveaboard diving. My dive buddy and dive guide were ahead of me while I lagged behind having some nostalgic moments. A rush of thoughts were going through my head. What a beautiful day…what a reef…what incredible corals…will I get to come back? I was gliding up the slope, and a rubble patch, a break in the middle of the vast forest of hard and soft corals, appeared below me.

I was calm, meditative…and then a bright yellow spot in the middle of the coral rubble grayness caught my eye. But it was moving! And it was moving with those tentative robotic steps of a frogfish. I was not that close, but I was sure it was a frogfish. I “called out” to my dive buddies through my regulator, “Hey!”, forgetting I could have banged on my tank with my stick, but they did not hear me. I settled down close to the rubble at 10 meters and began to watch my friend. He was already moving so it was not me who had disturbed him. He was slowly tiptoeing through the rubble as if he were trying to be invisible. He should have been, he probably thought. “I am a sponge.”

There is something special about making such a find on your own. You look across the expansive reef on dives like it’s infinity, wondering if you are still on Earth or in a dream. And then unexpectedly your eye catches something that’s different from the rest. It moves and you discover it. Dive guides do this every dive – “by accident” they say. “I know where to look.” “It’s my job.”

frogfish

I did my best to photograph him, but he was moving. Even for a frogfish he was moving quickly. He was moving quickly yet deftly across the rocks like a climber looking for sure footing on a mountaintop. And he did not give me a big yawn. It’s a classic pose in frogfish photos, but a yawn is often a sign of stress.

My air was getting low, and the frogfish was disappearing into the rubble. It was time to leave. I threw him and the reef a kiss and started up the slope to do my safety stop with the others who had looked back occasionally to see if I was with them still. I had made them wait too many times before while I photographed crazy coral patterns or just another anemone.

I was going to wait until topside to show my guide Michael, but I could not contain my excitement. His eyes got big and there were a few frantic moments to go back, but it was too late…the frogfish was for my eyes only.

Tip: A dive is never over until it’s over.

Janice Nigro is an avid scuba diver with a PhD in biology.  She is a scientist who has studied the development of human cancer at universities in the USA and Norway, and has discovered the benefits of artistic expression through underwater photography and story writing of her travel adventures.

Marine Life & Conservation

BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – Deep-Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler

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A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.


Deep Sea Stories From a Shadow Diver: a conversation with Richie Kohler. 

This episode of the Blue Earth Podcast is a conversation with Richie Kohler. He’s an explorer, technical wreck diver, shipwreck historian, filmmaker, and author.

Richie was featured in Robert Kurson’s incredible book “Shadow Divers ”. It’s a thrilling true story about Richie and John Chatterton’s quest to identify the wreck of an unknown WWII German U-boat (submarine), 65 miles off the coast of New Jersey. They dedicated six years of their lives attempting to identify the wreck.

Richie has travelled the world and explored many deep wrecks, including the Andrea Doria, Titanic, and Britannic. He’s the author of “Mystery of The Last Olympian” about the Britannic.


Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.


You can find more episodes and information at www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

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Marine Life & Conservation

New Fisheries Act misses the mark on sustainability, but what now?

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A better future for our seas is still beyond the horizon, says Marine Conservation Society

The UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has now become law. The Fisheries Act, the first legislation of its kind in nearly 40 years, will shape how the UK’s seas are fished for years to come.

The Marine Conservation Society, which campaigned for amendments to the legislation throughout its development, is disappointed by the removal of key sustainability amendments and by the removal of a commitment to rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring.

The charity has committed to pushing the UK Government to go further than the framework which the Fisheries Act sets out, with greater ambition for the state of UK seas.

Sandy Luk, Chief Executive of the Marine Conservation Society said: “UK Government and devolved administrations must act urgently to deliver climate and nature smart fisheries under the new Fisheries Act. This is a key condition if our seas are to recover to good health. The UK Government removed key amendments from the legislation while making promises on sustainability and the introduction of remote electronic monitoring. We will continue to hold the government to account over these promises.”

“I’m pleased to see the recognition of the important role fisheries play in our fight against the climate emergency.  However, even with a climate change objective in the Act, actions speak louder than words. We must get to work delivering sustainable fisheries management, which will have a huge benefit to our seas, wildlife and the communities which depend upon them.”

The Fisheries Act has become law against a backdrop of the ocean’s declining health. UK waters are currently failing to meet 11 out of 15 indicators of good ocean health and over a third of fish in UK waters are being caught at levels which cannot continue into the future. Whilst the legislation failed to address some of the more pressing issues facing UK seas, including overfishing, there is still an opportunity to affect change in the years which follow.

Sam Stone, Head of Fisheries at the Marine Conservation Society said: “The Fisheries Act marks the start of a new era of fisheries management in the UK, but the next two years will be critical in defining what this looks like. The new Act has some good objectives, but we now need to come together to make sure it really delivers the on-water change that is desperately needed for ocean recovery.

“There is genuine opportunity to create fisheries that deliver for coastal communities and for the environment, but it means moving away from ‘business-as-usual’. The UK and devolved governments now have the powers to move forward with progressive new management in their waters. That means proper incentives for low impact fishing, proper monitoring of catches and proper commitments to sustainable fishing.

“In the short term, the four nations must work together to make impactful changes, starting by addressing the UK’s most at risk fish stocks. Recovery plans are needed for our depleted stocks, including new catch limits, selectivity and avoidance measures, protection of vital habitats and fully documented catches. Rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring with cameras on larger vessels throughout the UK should be top of the agenda if future policy is to be as well informed as possible.”

For more information about the Fisheries Bill and the Marine Conservation Society’s work, visit the charity’s website.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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