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Tourist posing with protected sea turtle causes uproar on social media

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A photo of a Chinese tourist posing with a protected sea turtle he caught in Malaysian waters has created an uproar on social media sites as Sabah authorities step up investigations into the case.

Sabah Wildlife Department and Sabah Parks investigators have turned up at the Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort to question the management over the incident, after one of the resort’s boats was spotted in the photo.

They are now trying to ascertain how the tourist could have been allowed to catch a protected turtle and other marine life in waters close to the diving haven of Pulau Sipadan. The tourist is believed to be part of a group of eight tourists who visited Semporna on the 27th and 28th March this year.

According to investigating sources, the picture has been making its rounds on Chinese networking site Weibo over the last few months after the tourist uploaded the picture, but only surfaced in Facebook on the 5th July.

The sources said the investigation was becoming difficult as the tourist had returned to China while the boatman who took the group on the snorkelling trip left the company on the 10th May.

“Since it was a snorkelling trip, there was no dive master accompanying them except for the boatman,’’ the sources explained, adding that the company management itself was surprised by the incident.

However, the investigation will continue as investigators try to locate the boatman and also trace the tourist through travel agents.

When contacted, Singamata Adventures and Reef Resort manager Vicky Shim apologised for the action of the tourist and the failure of their boatman to stop such acts.

“We strictly adhere to the conservation of marine resources and have put up reminders and advisories to inform tourists not to catch marine creatures. We sincerely apologise for what has happened,’’ she said.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson, who highlighted the issue, said he had written to the company asking it to issue a policy statement to instructors and boat operators to refrain from allowing customers to harass and abuse marine wildlife.

He said illegally handling marine life for the amusement of guests was “irresponsible and extremely unprofessional’’ of Singamata, which is an authorised PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre.

He said he would bring up the matter with PADI and also Project Aware.

Source: www.thestar.com.my

News

Get moving with the new RAID DPV training programs

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The thrill of speeding through the water behind a diver propulsion vehicle (DPV) is an experience that really gets the blood racing. Using a DPV provides divers both immense fun and the means to achieve goals that would be impossible without their use.

RAID is proud to announce the new two-tier DPV training program with certifications for DPV and Advanced DPV.

Why DPV and why now?
Recreational and technical divers are using DPVs to access sites that would be difficult to reach and explore using traditional propulsion methods; to help propel large amounts of heavy equipment; to increase the safety of dives in areas of strong current; or just for the pure exhilaration of shooting through the water at speed and performing underwater acrobatics.

By extending your capabilities and extending your range, using a DPV opens new vistas for exploration and fun.

DPV
This certification option is aimed at the recreational diver who wishes to learn how to use a DPV to enhance their diving by using mainly natural navigation.

Advanced DPV
This certification option is available to anyone who is familiar with longhose configuration, has logged a minimum of 20 dives and is certified as Navigation specialty divers.

This certification option is aimed at the slightly more experienced diver with preexisting navigational training and diving on a single, twin or sidemount setup with a longhose. Although this level is slightly more challenging, the more advanced navigation exercises provide an important base for more complex types of DPV diving within a team.

PREREQUISITES
You must:

  • Be a minimum of 12 years old.
  • Be certified as RAID Open Water 20, Junior Open Water or equivalent.

Just visit www.diveRAID.com to put some extra dash into your dives.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Beers raise cash for ocean clean-up

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The Driftwood Spars Brewery, a pioneering microbrewery based on the North Cornwall coast, is donating a percentage of all profits from its Cove range of beers to Fathoms Free, a certified charity which actively cleans the ocean around the Cornish peninsula.

Each purchase of the small-batch, craft beers – there are four different canned beers in the Cove range – will help generate funds to purchase a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and fund retrieval dives; every brew will raise the equivalent cost of a fully-funded dive. 

Fathoms Free is a Cornwall-based charity whose day-to-day mission involves dives from their fast-response specialist vessel to recover ghost fishing gear; abandoned nets, pots, angling equipment and other plastic causes severe damage to the marine environment and the death of countless seabirds, seals, dolphins and other sea life.

The campaign to raise funds for an ROV is a new initiative which will take the clean-up work to a new level; the highly manoeuvrable underwater vehicle will be used to scour the seabed, harbours and remote parts of the coastline for abandoned fishing gear and other marine litter.

Project Manager Natallia Paliakova from Fathoms Free said: “Apart from helping us locate ghost gear underwater, the ROV will also be capable of recording underwater video which is always great for raising awareness about marine pollution issues.”

She added: “We are really excited to be partnering with The Driftwood Spars Brewery and appreciate the proactive support of Mike and his team in bringing the purchase of an ROV a step closer to reality.”

Head Brewer Mike Mason personally approached the charity after their work was featured on the BBC 2 documentary, ‘Cornwall with Simon Reeve’.    

He said: “As a keen surfer I am only too aware of the problem of marine litter and had heard about Fathoms Free, but seeing them in action prompted me to find a way of contributing. The scale of the challenge is scary, but the determination of organisations like Fathoms Free is inspiring.”

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

Photo by Beagle Media Ltd

The Driftwood Spars Brewery was founded in 2000 in Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes; the microbrewery is just a few steps away from it’s co-joined brewpub, The Driftwood Spars; both pub and brewery are well-regarded far beyond the Cornish cove they call home. 

You can hear the waves and taste the salt on the air from the door of both brewery and pub, and the rough seas along the rugged North coast often throw up discarded nets and other detritus; Louise Treseder, Landlady of The Driftwood Spars and a keen sea swimmer, often collects washed up ghost gear on her daily beach excursions.     

Louise commented: “This is a great partnership to support a cause close to our hearts – I know the money we raise will have a positive and lasting impact. The Cove range was inspired by our unique surroundings and the artwork – by local artist Jago Silver – reflects that. Now donations from each purchase will contribute towards the vital ocean clean-up taking place right on our doorstep.”

The Cove range can currently be purchased online here, and is available in good independent bottle shops in Cornwall.

To find out more about Fathoms Free visit their website here.

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