UK Dive Show, Sardines and Sushi
It’s hard to imagine that there are only 3 months left of this year. It has been an incredibly eventful year for me and AfriOceans: the unexpected gift of freedom after leaving the shark centre has happily ensconced me with more time in the water, camera in hand, and set me on a course of exciting opportunities and invitations. Soon I will be heading for London to attend various meetings and to fulfill my invite as a guest speaker of the UK Dive Show on the 29th and 30th October. I’m looking forward to it having been told that diving events don’t get any bigger or better than the Birmingham Dive Show, now celebrating 20 years as the UK’s most popular festival for divers. The show has earned an unrivalled reputation as a place where divers from around the world gather to advance their sport, to talk and to listen, to buy and to sell, to teach and to learn, and to meet up with friends and colleagues. Find out more…
While I’m kept busy preparing my talk, working on many conservation projects and running AfriOceans, my mind finds rest when settling back on the sardine run, my underwater highlight of 2010. It reminds me of my promise to share a few more of my images of the sardine run with you, which I herewith fulfill. And a reminder that I am offering an opportunity to book the next sardine run trip in 2011 with me by emailing me direct (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Walter Bernardis of African Watersports. (See my earlier blog on the sardine run for more about this amazing diving experience, not to be missed! See my Sardine Run 2010 Gallery images.)
I recently learnt that as a result of a decade-long Census of Marine Life, a number of scientists who spent over 9,000 days during more than 540 expeditions, producing over 2,600 publications, have identified nearly 20,000 more marine species. Wow, that’s awesome work! It brings the total number of species known to live in our precious oceans to almost 250,000, a fraction of the thousands still undiscovered, so they say. The thought that our oceans are the last frontier and that any one of us SCUBA divers could stumble upon a new species enthralls, but the Arctic sea ice cover has reached the third-lowest level ever recorded betokening the harsh realities of global warming, its ultimate effects on species loss as Earth’s fever continues to rise.
If I immerse myself in these facts further I find it difficult not to feel that our efforts as conservationists pale hopelessly against many odds. But when I recall the overwhelming beauty, diversity and splendor of, for example, the sardine run, I am fuelled with the fire to continue the fight, an unwavering belief that we can all make a difference, starting with living more consciously as consumers. James Lovelock believes that one sure way to save our planet is if we all become vegetarians since the exhalations of almost 7 billion people on Earth, their pets and livestock are responsible for 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
On this score I’m doing ok, I’ve not eaten red meat for 27 years and I stopped eating fish almost 6 years ago – as a shark and marine conservationist, and given what I know, it felt hypocritical to continue eating fish. I believe in walking your talk. My team at AfriOceans are also vegetarians. Although each to his own, it never ceases to amaze when other so-called marine conservationists and scientists consume copious amounts of fish with little forethought. It’s like sharing a dinner table with ostriches with their heads in the sand. OK, maybe it’s too difficult for some or integrity does not sit high on their menu, but not being mindful of which species are threatened and avoiding them is unforgivable, worse still if you know and still eat them. Take a look at the WWF Sustainable Seafood Initiative, which provides the green, orange or red light for different species depending on their status and the fishing practices used to catch them, download the brochure here. In a world where we are losing up to 30 000 species a year there is simply no excuse for not doing one’s part in helping to save our world. Next time you are tempted to order the linefish of the day, sushi or simply open a tin of sardines to spread on your toast, think about this. Better still, join me and become a vegetarian, after all, besides living more gently on our planet, vegetarians live longer ☺
Watch my space!