AfricanDiver Dec/Jan 2010 Issue 8
Underwater video commercials Gordon Hiles
Crabs of the Cape Atlantic Georgina Jones
Titan Triggerfish Digital diving
Zanzibar, Pemba and safaris AfricanDiver.com 1
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Christopher Bartlett Dec/Jan 09
by Cormac McCreesh
It’s summertime again in the Southern hemisphere and the year-end is drawing closer. That means it’s almost holiday time and my thoughts have already turned to dreaming of getting away and drifting underwater. In that vein, Christopher Bartlett takes us to Zanzibar and Pemba – a dreamy sun-filled vacation in the islands. And to round it off, we’ve broken with tradition and included his story on wildlife safaris in Tanzania. Africa has so much to offer a vacationing traveller that we just had to look at some topside activities too.
Page 3 Surf & Turf in tantalising Tanzania
Georgina Jones treats us to the delightful little crabs of the cold Atlantic Cape seas. While the Atlantic can get pretty cold, summertime is the time to do your diving there. And what better activity than to look out for these little fellows?
Page 19 Norwy’s fisheries - lessons for Africa?
Regular contributor, Gordon Hiles, reflects on some of his more enjoyable underwater commercial video activities and shares some hilarious experiences while Jason Heller explains about the dangers of photographing too close to the infamous Titan Triggerfish.
Page 24 Cryptic crabs of the Atlantic side
We get serious about conservation with Moving Sushi’s visit to Norway and Scott Buckley’s consideration of aquaculture as an alternative to fishing. And we get the lowdown on the history of SASSI.
Page 26 Diving with ear problems
This issue ends off with DAN Southern Africa’s article on ear problems while diving – a very useful article to read before you head off for your diving holidays and we feature Simon Brown’s portfolio.
Page 31 Shooting video commercials underwater
Here’s hoping you enjoy this issue and may your diving holidays be safe, enjoyable and, as always, may your bubbles be free.
Page 34 Is aquaculture a sustainable option
Cormac and Paul
by Christopher Bartlett
by Simon Brown
Page 17 When Titan’s attack
Page 41 SASSI - the story
by Jason Heller
by Moving Sushi
by Georgina Jones
by Gordon Hiles
by Scott Buckley
Page 36 Meet the DAN-SA team by DAN-SA
Page 39 Featured photographer
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Cover by Paul Hunter
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Surf & Turf in tantalising Tanzania Text & images by Christopher Bartlett
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Zanzibar and Pemba Something for everyone
he spacious, purpose-built dhow slid through the calm Indian Ocean. We were briefed sitting under the shade area of the deck and then kitted up and went through our buddy checks before a giant stride took us into the 30Â°C sea. Looking down I could just make out the dive site, an old British lighter, 27 metres below me. It was 9:30 a.m. and the day was going fantastically. Iâ€™d started the morning in Dar-esSalaam and caught a Zanair Cessna 182 for the 20-minute early morning flight to Stone Town on the west coast of Unguja, more commonly known as Zanzibar, for some low-level sunrise shots of the outlying reefs. Ten minutes in a taxi and I was kitting up at One Ocean Divers, a mug of coffee AfricanDiver.com 4
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steaming next to me. One Ocean started 14 years ago, and in 1999 it was taken over by Aussie Gary Greig and his South African wife, Gail. From one dive shop in Stone Town they now operate from four other resorts around the island. Kit was dished out whilst more coffee was brewed and then consumed, before
walked past the palm trees, down the small beach, and onto the waiting dhow. On the leisurely cruise out to a reef near Bawe island acquaintances were made and the loudmouth been-there-done-it-all-in25-dives Harvard business blah-blah post-grad diver was quickly identified and avoided as a buddy.
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The wreck itself was a tad disappointing. Although the briefing by Amani had covered all the essentials and had been thorough in terms of safety procedures, no indication of the size of the wreck had been given. Hence my initial thoughts of “With a lifeboat that size, it must be a huge wreck” soon turned to disappointment when Amani went straight for it. It was host to a large school of striped eel catfish and long strands of whip coral (that numbered one less after some unusual buoyancy “skills” from the Adriatic). Following the dive plan we then finned away following the contours of the sandy bottom up to AfricanDiver.com 6
some outcrops of reef, home to a bearded scorpionfish, and an assortment of triggerfish, butterflyfish, and coachmen. By the time we’d started puttering along to The Aquarium at Murogo Reef (how many Aquariums are there around the world?) bellies were grumbling and the crew laid out a spread fit for an Omani Sultan, once the rulers of Zanzibar and the most successful slave and spice traders in Africa. After samoosas, spring rolls, chapattis and fresh fruits and a leisurely spot of digestion during which we tried Return to contents page
our best to convince our Italian expert that a Stonefish sting really would spoil his day, it was time to pull on our shorties again. The visibility was around 15 metres and the site deserved its moniker. Table and plate corals adorned the reef and we spotted common lionfish, lots of nudis, an undulate moray, a hermit crab, huge gorgonian fans, a giant clam, and two blue spotted rays. However, the highlight of the dive was the large remora that took a fancy to Captain Fantastic’s bare leg, his squeals being vaguely reminiscent of dolphin chatter as he trashed around trying to avoid its attempted love bites. Dec/Jan 09
Back on the dhow he was informed that remora like to live on sharks, and that one is never very far from the other. “I could’ve been killed then”, he shrieked. “If only”, thought I. The reefs around Stone Town are fairly plentiful and other, larger wrecks exist too. And whilst any aficionado of Bass Lake or Stoney Cove would gawk in amazement at the coral formations and the fish life, the reefs have suffered from crown of thorns, robbing the coral of colour. Back on shore in Stone Town there is a bit of sightseeing to do; central Stone Town is a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways, flanked by crumbling mansions and mosques. The main attractions are the massive Zanzibari wooden doors, an after-dinner drink (the food is poor value for money) at Mercury’s restaurant and bar (Freddy of Queen fame is Unguja’s most famous son) by Big Tree, the House of Wonders, the Omani Fort, Tippu Tip’s house, the Hamamni Persian Baths, and the fish market (conservationists beware: you will find sharks here).
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The night food market in Forodhani Gardens is alleged, by a Lonely Planet guidebook, to host the best food market in East Africa. If the guidebook was written for flies, this is undoubtedly true. MATEMWE BEACH VILLAGE AND MNEMBA ATOLL Situated close to Mnemba Atoll, a shallow expanse of coral reef with a tiny heartshaped island on its western fringe surrounded by some step drop-offs, Matemwe is the “must-dive” of Unguja. With average viz 20 metres or better, there are a multitude of sites to dive, and its calm conditions make it suitable for novices
and experienced divers alike. One Ocean’s centre here was on the premises of the Beach Village, where standard rooms are comfortable and clean, the Shamba suites are huge and charmingly decorated. Located next to the beautiful infinity pool a few paces from the beach, it also had excellent equipment, friendly and efficient service. After a bumpy 45-minute drive to the launch site in a daladala and transfer to another purpose-built diving dhow, the MV Jessica, the divers carried on the banter from the night before. More flat sea and baking sunshine make for such a relaxing atmosphere that even the open water students were looking like seasoned veterans.
If it was a haven of peace and tranquillity on the boat, under it the ocean was buzzing. With great viz our first site was West Bank. Starting at six metres and then rolling down into a 50 m drop-off, it was covered in reef fish and eels, hard and soft corals, and large schools of fusiliers. There were the intriguing juvenile black snapper, damsels in the staghorn coral, royal and emperor angelfish, chocolate dips, blue spotted rays, two-bar clown fish. Thumbing through the fish book back on the dhow it was a case of “Saw that, saw that, saw that, loads of them, two of them, few of those, etc…” After another dhow-diving lunch taken anchored over a snorkelling site that had several divisions of sergeant majors flitting over it, it was time to visit Turtle Reef. The site was not one unbroken reef, but rather coral mounds interspersed with sand, where unusual sightings included two left-eyed flounder, AfricanDiver.com 8
a huge octopus in some rocks, and a grand total of zero turtles between eight divers. However, lionfish fans were delighted; there was an abundance of these delicate-looking but venom-carrying members of the scorpionfish family. Having returned along the same road due to extralow tides, instead of in the dhow, beers were cracked around the poolside bar and new arrivals greeted like distant cousins, before dinner and a relatively early night under the sleep-inducing whir of the strategically positioned fans. If you want to treat yourself, the Shamba suites are well worth the extra 50 dollars, and for a special romantic night for two, the honeymoon suite is even more secluded and has its own plunge pool, beach access, and chef. Fully refreshed and as relaxed as a rasta in a ganja pile, it was time to blow bubbles at Mnemba again. Small Wall was home to Porcupinefish swimming Return to contents page
slowly above the table corals, false stonefish hid on the rocks whilst peppered and white-mouthed morays skulked in crevices, paperfish swayed gently in rocky recesses, rock cod went about their business and, looking off into the beautiful blue, a napoleon wrasse cruised by unperturbed by a school of kingfish. The last dive was at Mnemba’s take on The Aquarium. With a more open seascape it was like being in the aquarium rather than looking in to it. We drifted on the gentle current from one outcrop of coral to another, marvelling at the size of the schools of fusiliers and the number of green turtles. In total twelve individuals were observed, including three resting on one outcrop, with remoras being cleaned by accompanying wrasse attached to their carapaces. As we eventually moved off the site, the DM led us to a vast sandy patch. Not the ideal spot for a safety stop you think, until hundreds of garden eels stick their heads out of the sand and start swaying to the tune of an invisible snake-charmer. Dec/Jan 09
in just under 30 minutes, quicker even than from I caught a ride across the Matemwe which overlooks top of the island where the atoll. Situated next to there are two resorts to the excellent Bikini Beach choose from. Nungwi was Bar and very reasonable a dusty village that has Sunset Bungalows (50 rapidly grown into the most USD for a spacious en-suite frequented and fashionable double with a traditional (read promoted) resort on Zanzibari bed that could the island. It has the liveliest sleep four). The BCDâ€™s had nightclubs and the greatest been replaced recently and selection of restaurants, but diver safety is paramount is also overrun by tourists here; each BCD came with and has poor swimming an SMB in the pocket with beaches. For divers, there a briefing on how and when are a few local sites, but the to deploy it. best dives involve a long dhow trip to Mnemba. Local sites included Kichafi and Haji reefs The less-publicised resort of and their extensive lattice Kendwa has a huge beach coral formations, peacock that is ideal for bathing mantis shrimp, paperfish even at low tide, offers a and bearded scorpionfish, choice of eight places to Nankivell with its giant stay, ranging from thatched plate corals in fascinating bandas at 15 dollars a formations, rays, napoleon night, to air-con en-suites, wrasse, groupers, and has six restaurants, is the stunning Hunga Reef the location of the only with its interconnected dive centre using zodiacs bommies and a huge (rubber ducks), and has variety of hard and soft some great local reefs. By corals, reminiscent of a operating with the faster fantasy world. Hunga was craft, Scuba-Do can get his the home to even bigger divers past Nungwi, round schools of snapper, and the tip of the island, and the impressive crocodile onto Mnemba dive sites flathead that can be found AfricanDiver.com 9
in significant numbers resting on the sandy bottom in gullies and between bommies. Rare finds included seahorses, a Mauritius scorpionfish, and a Weedy scorpionfish. Visibility was between 15 and 25 metres, and the water was still a balmy 29C. Post-diving, one of the bars would generally have something going on, and they could all be reached by walking down the beach; the only hazard at night being either nausea or hysteria brought on by the insincere declarations of local playboys to female tourists. With reduced travelling time and morning and afternoon dives with a long shore-break in between, Kendwa is also more suitable for mixed parties made up of divers and nondivers, children and adults.
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PEMBA ISLAND Several local airlines fly to Pemba from Stone Town. Zanair is the pick of the bunch with a reliable and efficient on-line booking system and a range of different aircraft in its fleet, but if you fancy something different then Indigo Aviation cover the route in a Douglas DC-3 Dakota. This particular one first flew in 1943 as a military C-47 and was on active D-Day service. Flying slower and lower than its modern counterparts, there is usually an opportunity to spend a few minutes in the cockpit in the third seat behind the captain, looking out of the cockpit window watching the scenery 400 metres below drift by at 130 knots. The 30-minute half-empty flight yielded more picture-postcard aerial shots of uninhabited islands and the reefs, before touching down in Chake Chake, Pemba’s biggest town, half-way up the west coast at the end of a long mangrove-lined creek. The airport was a small ramshackle affair, and AfricanDiver.com 10
despite a plethora of attractions including atmospheric ruins, primeval forest, unique bird species, deserted beaches, and some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean, Pemba often hosts less than 100 tourists at any given time. SIMPLE SWAHILI DIVERS Swahili Divers and the Kervan Saray ecoresort on the northwest coast are run by Farhat Jah, a seemingly eccentric mixture of Turkish and Indian heritage with a resolutely British upbringing, and his Dutch wife, Cisca. Known by locals as Mr. Raf, and just Raf to anyone else, there is something of a young Basil Fawlty in him that, whilst a little surprising initially, is ultimately endearing. The accommodation was built in 2008 from local materials, and quarry where the bricks were cut is, well, a stone’s throw away. Any imported goods come by dhow whose carbon footprint is limited to the fire that the crew use to warm their food at night when at sea. It is the best priced on the island with Return to contents page
dorm beds and doubles, and good value packages. Food is wholesome and filling, and is locally-sourced and cooked with love by Chef Mzee Ali on charcoal (chocolate biscuit cake a speciality), unlike the other two resorts that ship most supplies in, and is the most affordable Pemba diving option. Raf pioneered much of the diving from Pemba, and has discovered many of the sites himself, hence the odd names. You’ll find no Aquarium here. Deep Freeze, Slobodan’s Bunker (after the ex-Serbian warmonger), Le Reef Caché (hidden reef in French) and Emilio���s Back Passage to name a few. With a wealth of knowledge of the reefs and conditions, years of experience, and a passion for underwater photography and videography, and you can pick up a host of tips from Raf, provided you can keep up. The RIB zipped across the top of the flat sea, taking us to Deep Freeze. The ride had been soothing, re-enforcing the remoteness of this small island 50 kilometres off the coast of one of the poorest countries in the world. Dec/Jan 09
We passed local in sailing dhows or dugouts, fishing teams of up to ten men swam nets into a circle, slapping the water as they went to scare fish into the net. A lone spearfisherman here and there in Jacques Cousteau mask and an elbow-grease-powered spear hunted for dinner. Now it was time to see if it Pemba lived up to its growing reputation. Had I saved the best for last?
cruise by as we kept the wall left shoulder. Then one of the five other clients started babbling and bubbling loudly, pointing back to the right. And along came a six-metre wingspan Manta, accompanied by the largest and ugliest old cobia I have ever laid my eyes upon. She glided by on the outside to the edge of visibility, then turned, slowly soaring back, under me and up over the group.
Looking down as we kitted up, the table corals twenty metres down were clearly visible. Backwards roll, hot tub, OK, going down. Equalize, all together? look around. W-O-W. With a capital W. On one side was a wall, like the top of a submerged mountain, covered in hard and soft corals of all descriptions, positively teeming with fish. On the other, the bluest blue, near perfect viz, dropping down, and down, and down. Lucky there’s no point talking underwater, because I was speechless. There was not one moment when there was not something to watch. The surface interval snack of still-warm crepes was taken on a deserted island of fossilized coral and white sand before heading off to Slobodan’s Bunker, best described by looking down on your hand with digits splayed, each gap a ravine in the reef full of marine life. The following day, at Le Trek, we watched four Napoleon Wrasse pass below us and a school of Barracuda
Over the next two days, I had the depths and the huge schools of bigeye trevally of Fundo Gap South Wall, the beautiful marbled cleaner shrimps and metallic looking bubble algae of Manta Point (but no luck with the mantas), the barracudas and assorted morays at Njao Gap, the multitude of marine life at Swiss Reef, and the ghost pipefish of Murray’s Wall and the eels, nudibranchs, and anemone fish of Egger’s Ascent to myself. Dives were broken up by picnics on tidal sand islands and incredible coves in cyan waters under cloudless skies. It was blissful; more dream diving.
Maybe it’s a mix of the remoteness of the island, the remoteness of Raf ’s sites, and a touch of melancholy from sitting at a keyboard, but the diving here felt like real adventure, as if all I needed was a red woolly hat and I was the re-incarnation of Commandant Cousteau.
FUNDU LAGOON LUXURY I couldn’t hope to top the past week’s diving, but the place itself looked impressive on the web, and the room rates certainly were at 600 USD a night per standard double, all inclusive (excluding champagne). After a 70-dollar taxi ride back to the airport, I met the Fundu transfer minibus and three well-heeled guests. 45 minutes later the driver dropped us at Pemba’s main port of Mkoani where a speedboat was waiting to whisk us to the lodge, a 10-minute ride away. The long wooden jetty was impressive, as was the discreet but warm welcome. The rooms are large safari tents inside a wooden cabin, with a magnificent en-suite showeroom, complete with Fundu Lagoon’s own range of four shower gels and shampoos (one of each for the morning and the evening, obviously), and a secluded bit of beach for each of the 16 rooms, the more expensive suites having their own pool too. The sunset views over the infinity pool and across the bay were breath-taking, and the sun setting directly behind the jetty bar and into the ocean surreal. It being a Saturday, dinner was being served on the beach, an eat-till-you-burst gourmet braai of slipper lobster, tiger prawns, and calamari washed down
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with excellent French wines and a few forgotten cocktails for desert. The next morning a cocktail of all four gels and shampoos revived me enough to make it down to the dive centre. The water was like a mirror, as we sped across to Misali Island and its surrounding reefs for my two last dives on Funga Pacha and Coral Mountain. Six of us baled over the side and dropped down to 18 metres (the four other guests were only Open Water certified). More clear blue water, more prolific fish life, and on the last dive, the magnificent marbled cleaner shrimp, and a last sighting of a crocodile flathead with a lionfish and a Model Toby in the viewfinder. More stunning coral. Unguja had been great, but Pemba was awesome. Itâ€™s not a place for â€œbigâ€? encounters every dive, but the variety and volume of small to mediumsized species is outstanding, with coral crabs, magnificent partner shrimps, nudibranchs, anthias, morays galore. I wondered how I would re-adjust to diving back home? For more information on tailor-made tours to the Zanzibari islands and the Tanzanian mainland e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. AfricanDiver.com 12
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A trip to Tanzania wouldnâ€™t be complete without a safari, but given the multitude of options, where to? The so-called Northern Circuit has the world famous and unforgettable Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and its massive migration, and the lesser known but most enjoyable Manyara and Tarangire National Parks. The former is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and home to the lake of the same name and huge flocks of flamingos and pelicans and its famous tree-climbing lions, the latter has its massive and fantasy-world baobab trees, herds of elephants, and over 500 bird species. Both are also excellent for most African mammal species, though the UN World Heritage Site Ngorongoro Crater is the only place where black rhinos can be found in Tanzania. AfricanDiver.com 13
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The north also has treks with donkey portage through the Ngorongoro highlands to splendid Lake Natron and its flamingos, the Olduvai Gorge where a 1.8 million year old hominid fossil was unearthed, and Ol Doinyo Lengai, a 2878-metre active volcano, up the 4566-metre Mount Meru in Arusha National Park, and of course, the climb to Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the continent atop Mount Kilimanjaro. Whilst they are all available as stand-alone trips from Arusha, off-the-shelf tours rarely tick all the boxes. To truly appreciate the north, a longer stay combining your specific interests is the best way to get the most out your trip. The south is home to the luxury very accessible Mikumi National Park and the beautiful and little-visited gem of Ruaha, the countryâ€™s second largest National Park. This rolling wilderness, studded with the great angular-branched baobab trees, and intersected by the Ruaha river, is known for its magnificent elephant population, huge herds of buffalo
as well as for other mammals and, in particular, its bird life. With personal park fees at 25 USD instead of 100 USD, and being accessible from Dar-es-Salaam by vehicle, Ruaha and Mikumi are an attractive option. Departing from Dar in the morning, we had a picnic lunch sitting on the open roof of a Landcruiser watching a herd of female elephants and offspring hosing themselves down with muddy water. The flat open savannah makes game viewing easy with dazzles of zebras grazing, a kaleidoscope of giraffe lolloping across the plain, impalas pronking, a pride of lions in the short grass with a mum offering her teats to her cubs before they endulge in some play fighting not more than 15 metres away. Mikumi has no rhinos or cheetahs, but makes up for it with the abundance and accessibility of its other signature species.
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After a night in comfortable thatched bandas, Ruaha beckons. Passing through Iringa’s jacaranda-lined streets and then a red-walled valley along a sun-baked ochre road, arrive in time for an afternoon game drive through the green rolling hills. As well as being a Big Five park and hosting 450 bird species in its abundant trees, Ruaha is also home to the elusive and rare, stinky but beautiful African hunting dog. With a varied landscape there is also a good chance of spotting a cheetah stalking on the open savannah, and encountering the majestic sable antelope. We
arrived in Ruaha for an afternoon game drive, and spent the next day slowly driving around this majestic park. A vehicle safari can cover the ground and will deliver you to concentrations of animals – you can count yourself unlucky if you don’t see a large pride of lions here - but walking safaris take you closer, both physically and spiritually, to the soil. Walking with a park ranger alongside the river the next morning, hearing nothing but the wind rustling the vegetation and your own footsteps makes the bush an even more intimate place. With so few tourists around and
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covering such a vast area, you are no longer visiting the bush, you are the bush. Sightings of distant crocodiles and, by keeping downwind, nearby giraffes, zebras, and antelope are the norm, but you can also look at the bizarre, sprawling nest of the hammerkop, a large stork-like bird that buries its eggs in a three-roomed nest decorated with old bones; inspect spoor (field guide talk for prints and poop) of some of the bush’s unseen nocturnal inhabitants like the aardvark and the genet, the choggy footprint of a hippopotamus and an impressively large lion paw; and prod biscuit barrel sized elephant pats.
And all this before lunch and driving back to Mikumi for the night and a final dawn and morning game drive before heading back to Dar for dinner. There are tourist-priced lodges and cheaper rustic but decent bandas inside both parks and excellent value for money lodges and hotels priced for locals on the outskirts of both parks. A private five-day safari from Dar to Ruaha via Mikumi can cost as little as 850 USD in a combination of bandas and lodges, based on two sharing through Indigo Safaris, who can also organise all your diving and internal flight requirements.
Tailor-made safaris, treks, and dive trips throughout Tanzania and the Zanzibar Archipelago for all budgets with excellent value-for-money
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When Titanâ€™s attack - what every underwater photographer should know Text written and supplied by Jason Heller, DivePhotoGuide Images by Debi Henshaw, DigitalDiving.
Most underwater photographers who have spent any time in the Indo Pacific have come across the very photogenic Titan Triggerfish. Most of us have heard the stories of Titan Triggerfish attacking divers, ramming and biting, and sometimes requiring medical attention. There is some irony in the fact that most non-diversâ€™ (and unfortunately many divers as well) have unwarranted fears about sharks or barracudas, but would more than likely approach a Titan Triggerfish without a second thought. While not always aggressive and on the attack, these highly territorial fish are no joke and are to be taken seriously. So when we received an email from underwater photographer David Henshaw with images from a recent Trigger attack in The Philippines, we decided that it was important to make sure that all of our readers understood more about the Titan Triggerfish, and their behavior. About The Titan Triggerfish The Titan Triggerfish (scientific name - Balistoides viridescens) is the largest of the Triggerfish family, ranging from approximately 15 - 30 inches. Their bodies have patterns of green, yellow, purple and gray, with black fin tips. They are indeed very photogenic. Titans feed on hard coral, crustaceans and invertebrates, using a set of specialized teeth that are clearly designed for these food sources. The Titans have independently rotating eye sockets, but apparently have poor vision, possibly adding to their territorial nature. AfricanDiver.com 17
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Titan Behavior Ordinarily you will encounter a solitary Titan. Like most reef fish, they are active during the day and will tuck themselves into the reef to sleep at night. Understanding their nesting behavior and territorial nature is important for minimizing problematic encounters. While it is commonly cited that Titans only attack while protecting their nests, this may not be true, as many incidents indicate aggression against territorial intruders even during non-nesting seasons. Titans nest in the sand adjacent to or within the corals. They will protect these nests with a rigor that is rarely seen from other species. The danger zone is a cone shaped area directly above the nest, all the way to the surface. So if you invade a Titan’s nesting zone, which more often than not you will do unintentionally, and find yourself with an aggressive male chomping at your fins and ramming you, ascending will not stop the Titan from defending its turf. You must swim horizontally away from this zone. Try to keep your eyes
on the Titan at all times, which is easier said than done, as these fish dart about in spurts of intense speed. Keep your camera or fins between you and the fish if at all possible. Better to have a hole or in fins than your body! Hardcore photographers would say to make sure you get the shot while evading attack, but we will be responsible and recommend focusing on not being harmed. Birget “Biggs” Eggert, tells of her encounter on Apo Island: “I was bitten by a Trigger which took 2x1cm of my inner and outer lip muscle and nerves. Yes, absolutely crazy. He came out of nowhere without any warning in 15ft / 5meters of water while I’m doing my safety stop... guess I must have been above his nest or he just does not like my face and bubbles.”
fixed everything and I felt like Angelina Jolie except I’m still waiting for Brad Pitt to visit me” Titans Are Not Evil Not all Titans will attack to protect their territory. Often you will just be charged at aggressively and subsequently escorted out of the nesting zone by an agitated pit-bull with scales. And remember - you are not really being attacked, the Titan is defending its territory, which you (unknowingly) invaded. Don’t blame the Titan. Links: Contact Info Website
Fortunately, Birget is ok. The wound was initially stitched up, but required two hours of plastic surgery afterwards. In good spirits she joked that after the plastic surgery “they
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Fishing vessels lined up and ready to hit the seas, typical cod catching vessels.
Norway’s fisheries: lessons for Africa? by Mike Markovina
At the latest meeting in Brazil, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) ignored the real status of Bluefin Tuna stock by agreeing to inadequate management measures. Scientific consensus has already been reached in previous stock assessments as to the catastrophic decline of the species, now estimated at less than 15% of pristine levels. ICCAT agreed to cut quotas for Bluefin by one third, reducing the catch quotas from just over 19 000 tons to 13 500 tons for all Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic fleets. According to Oceana this is not sufficient for stocks to recover and it will lead to individual vessel quotas that are too low to economically sustain fishing activities. This will encourage underreporting of catches and illegal fishing. ICCAT through its member states has failed to protect the Bluefin tuna. Yet the European Union has welcomed ICCAT’s decisive action to save Bluefin tuna and other marine species. This is the latest in fisheries management scandals and highlights unequivocally, in my mind, the power of industry to influence politics to affect fisheries management decisions. But this should not surprise us anymore. If an iconic species such as Bluefin tuna cannot receive the appropriate protection based on sound scientific advice, imagine what is happening in Africa’s waters where fisheries management, scientific data and compliance measures are not effectively instituted. As commercial fishing waves the proverbial “profit carrot” in front of decision makers there is a glimmer of hope, but first fish stocks are collapsing both commercially and biologically. This is best seen in the now famous collapse of, internationally the most important whitefish, Cod in the North Atlantic. Cod has been a core ingredient in western civilization for over 1000 years. It has stimulated political wars between countries and facilitated exploration of the sea (as the meat could be cured and would last twice as long as other fish). Yet cod nearly disappeared from the face of the earth, except in Norway, where according to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) the cod fishery has full reproductive capacity and is harvested sustainably. How did Norway achieve what the rest of the world, with possible exception to New Zealand and Australia couldn’t? The goal of the Marine Resource Expedition was to understand the positive aspects controlling Norway’s fishery, and to then understand if the measures could be adapted to an African context.
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Geopolitically and with respect to fish in their waters, Norway is no different from any African country. Norway has abundant fish stocks (as do many African nations), they share cod stocks with Russia (Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia all share small pelagic fish stocks as well as tuna, amongst others), and has fisheries agreements with other nations including the EU and Iceland.
Lobsters for sale with whale meat kebabs behind.
Norway is a rich country because of oil exploration. However unlike many other nations, Norway has used its oil rights to finance scientists and fisheries managers through the Institute of Marine Research - which receives approximately 49% of its budget, 400 million Kroner (approximately US$70 million) per annum from the government. This has allowed Norway to acquire 5 state-of-the-art research vessels, develop a world respected fisheries research and education program and allow objective science to be conducted in a variety of environments that exist in Norway.
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For example, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) is the largest marine science community in Norway. The main goal of the IMR is to provide advice, based on scientific studies and research, to the Norwegian authorities on aquaculture, fisheries and the ecosystems of the Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea and the Norwegian coastal zone. Ultimately the IMR works to ensure that Norway’s marine resources are harvested in a sustainable way. Within the organization, comprising of over 175 scientists, the main research programs include: 1. The Barents Sea ecosystem program. • Monitoring of fish stocks • Cooperation with Russia • Management plan of the Barents Sea • Ecosystems approach to management advice
7. Oil-fish program. • Research on human induced noise and oil contamination by oil companies on the marine environment. 8. Ecosystems and populations dynamics program. • Research in understanding variations in the marine environment, with particular reference to fish stocks
2. The Norwegian Sea ecosystem program. • Monitoring/research of pelagic fish stocks • Stock assessments • Phyto and zooplankton research
9. Biological mechanisms program. • Improve understanding of biological processes, and to create knowledge for improved and sustainable methods of marine resource harvesting.
3. The North Sea ecosystem program. • Monitoring of marine resources • Environmental contamination monitoring
10. Mareano program. • Provide research on benthic communities and habitats. What Norway is famous for, Salmon
4. The coastal zone ecosystem program. • Research marine coastal zones and the fjords • Marine biodiversity and tolerance research 5. Aquaculture program. • Ecological effects • Carrying capacity, disease and welfare indicators • Broodstock and fish early-life-stage research 6. Climate-fish program. • Research into the impact of climate on the reproduction, distribution and behavior of marine organisms. The IMR has a further 18 strategic research groups, which focus on key marine research, providing accurate and objective information for decision makers.
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Fisheries form an important role in Norwegian history, and although the country has a small population of approximately 5 million, ancestrally most families have an historical link to fisheries. Many of whom still continue fishing today. Fishermen and the population in general have an ingrained sense of value and consciousness towards fishing, which is lacking in many modern day fisheries. However being conscious of fish resources alone will not prevent overexploitation of the resource, and it is here the technical fisheries management measures put in place and enforced have ensured Norway a healthy 21st century fishery.
Drying cod, very traditional.
Positive management policies resulting in healthy fish stocks: The Barents Sea currently holds the largest cod stock in the world. Compared to other ground fish stock around the world, the management and regulatory measures imposed by the Norwegian government has ensured a relatively robust system for the sustainable utilisation of ground fish resources. The WWF have reported on the positive aspects of Norwegian fisheries management, highlighting practical measures implemented in the cod and ground fish fishery that have a proven positive effect for sustainable harvest, and that could be adopted by any other fishery. The Marine Resource Expedition feels that it is important to keep science in context, when inferring ideas from one country to another. Our aim is to find simple solutions that can be implemented and which will contribute to resource conservation and sustainable resource use. Three successful management procedures, that could play influential roles in Africa and which can be implemented given current political and fisheries capacity, are: 1. The total discards ban: Discards refers to that part of a catch that is not retained on board during commercial fishing operations. Discards may result from fishermen having finished their quota for a given species, high-grading (selecting the largest or best quality fish, and discarding the rest), which is done purely for economic benefit, or fish that are below a minimum size. Discards are a waste of a resource, as the fish returned to the sea are dead. The major problem with discarding fish is that the actual fishing mortality is not accounted for, thus affecting data that management decisions are based upon. The total discards bad is hailed by the WWF as an integral step in responsible fishing. However the key to a total ban of discards working is effective compliance, something which Africa needs to address if such an initiative is to be implemented with positive effects. The no-discards ban can be easily monitored though observer programs, which are developing in Ghana, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast and are developed in Senegal, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa. The benefit of the no-discards ban is that no specific equipment is required to monitor it, and there is no â€œgrey areaâ€? to the rule and no excuses, resulting in effective and immediate punishment against perpetrators. 2. Sorting grids: Sorting grids are a technical addition to fisheries, and although they will not necessarily be the solution to fisheries management, they have shown a clear improvement by reducing the capture of juvenile fish. The sorting grid is a physical barrier allowing juvenile fish to exit the trawl net before it is hauled up onto the fishing vessel. Right: cod drying in the cool arctic air. AfricanDiver.com 22
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Sorting grids are mandatory for cod and shrimp trawl in Norway’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). In the Brown shrimp fishery in the North Sea, the use of a sorting grid resulted in a reduction of greater than 70% of fish and 65% benthos in the catch. Sorting grids could play an influential role in the African shrimp fishing industry. We have observed catastrophic mortalities of juvenile fish through poor fishing practices (reduced mesh size below legal limits, net fouling, which includes deliberate blocking of the cod end therefore catching everything that enters the net) and disrespect for non-trawl zones (so called sensitive juvenile fish zones). Sorting-grids represent simple technology, and there is literally no excuse why they are excluded from fishing gear at present in Africa. 3. Temporary and permanent closed areas: According to a report issued by the WWF, in the 1980’s an area closure system was established in the Norwegian EEZ. These are areas that are closed to fishing when the amount of landed fish below the Minimum Landing Size (MLS) (i.e. juvenile fish), in a single catch, exceed 15% by Above: commonly caught shrimp in the market in Bergen number. The closure of the area is effective as long as the catch of juvenile fish (fish under the MLS) accounts for 15% of total catch. Research vessels, or commercial fishing vessels (who are contracted by the government) continually sample the closed area until such time as juvenile fish constitute less than 15% of total catch, after which the area is opened to commercial fishing. This initiative is brilliant and simple because fish move. Enforcing a permanent closed area only is not a solution because juvenile fish move to surrounding non-protected waters making them vulnerable once again to fishing. This is particularly so in the open ocean, where fish migrate readily based on feeding and spawning patterns. However, roaming closed areas serve to protect juvenile fish wherever they might be, instead of where we think they might be. I feel that this initiative will play a pivotal role in defining marine protected areas in Africa. What makes temporary closed areas a success in Norway is the ability to effectively police and monitor the closed areas. The closure and opening of sensitive areas are based on extensive surveillance by authorities, and fishermen are obliged to redirect fishing activities to other areas if their catches exceed limits of undersize fish. Unfortunately when looking at Africa, the challenge is the policing and the financing of such initiatives. However at sea monitoring by observers could be the starting point for initiating Above: lemon sole in the fjords temporary closed areas. It can work, it has to work. Ultimately you can have the best laws and regulations defining a country’s fishery, but political will and government backing determines whether the technical infrastructure will positively affect marine resource management. This is where Norway has succeeded. Many African countries face economic hardship, whether the country literally has no tradable commodities or the upper echelon of society has skimmed off the country’s wealth. Coupled with humanitarian issues like AIDS, poverty, health, education, war and disease means fisheries and its management reels in the aftermath on the priority list. At present fish resources in Africa, although a life line to many locals, are no more than a bargaining tool for government financial gain through resource agreements with European, Asian and Western countries. Soon however with the influence of climate change and the sheer need for cheap protein, fisheries will become a food security issue, something that will have to be appropriately addressed.
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Below: angler fish
Cryptic crabs of the Atlantic side Text by Georgina Jones
As the sun returns to the southern hemisphere so the westerly winds move south of the Cape and the south east replaces the north west as the Cape’s prevailing wind. It’s an annoying wind in general, and a dry one, but a few days of south east bring an upwelling of deep water to the Atlantic shores of the Cape Peninsula. This deep water is incredibly clear, with visibility of 20 to 30m. It is also astonishingly cold (temperature ranges from 7 to 12°C are normal), so locals don even more protective gear than usual to explore the wonders of the Atlantic reefs. And wonders there are, in extraordinary profusion. Sunbeams stream through the kelp forests, glancing off the mailed flanks of hottentots and galjoen, lighting up the dark shysharks going about their business and the myriad life forms crowding the jumbled granite boulders and walls which make up most of the reefs. Jewel bright nudibranchs feast on hydroids, darting bobtail squid swim in great clouds, fern-like basket stars catch krill from the water with their nippers, luminous blue anemones, neon sponges and startling pink noble corals cling to the submarine walls, while rock lobsters lurk in crevasses, waving their curious antennae. Then there are the cryptic crabs.
Left: A furred sponge crab on a rare excursion over the reef (Andrew Taylor)
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These animals are much less evident and it takes a while to become adept at spotting them underwater. The furred sponge crab (Pseudodromia latens) is probably the easiest to spot, although many divers who see them mistake them for golf ball sponges or colonial sea squirts. This is because of the furred sponge crab’s habit of nipping off a piece of sponge or colonial ascidian and using a specially adapted pair of legs to hold this living cloak over its carapace. The sponge or ascidian will then grow to almost completely cover the crab. The crabs are usually seen on sea fans, holding on, with only the very tips of their pincers showing. The sponge or ascidian covering serves to hide the crab from predators which might otherwise fancy a quick crab snack. It is relatively rare to see these crabs moving about on the reef, but it’s worth watching out for a small moving sponge just in case. Sumo crabs (Dromidia aegibotus) are less shy, perhaps because they are considerably more difficult to spot. These are relatively big animals, growing up to 120mm across. They have sturdy front pincers and a broad body to match. Their carapaces are covered with a dense short fur and have a groove down the centre. This short fur catches detritus so successfully that the sumo crab, though large, is easily overlooked, especially since these animals tend to move slowly, if at all. They blend into the reef as though they were just another patch of microscopic life and are only seen if they happen to move at the moment of observation. Their cousin, the shaggy sponge crab (Dromidia hirsutissima) is an interesting case. This is a smaller crab, only growing up to 40mm, and having much longer hairs growing from its carapace. As it is, this crab is almost invisible, but it has an unnatural fondness for a cratered sponge of lurid hue. This is the green moon sponge, Latruncula lunaviridis.Like the furred sponge crab, the shaggy sponge crab uses its specially adapted legs to hold this sponge onto its carapace. Unlike the furred sponge crab though, this renders the shaggy sponge crab immediately visible. It may be that the sponge is toxic and serves as a warning to predators not to tackle the crab. For divers though, it is worth inspecting these sponges more closely when seen because the chances are good there is a shaggy sponge crab under them. So fascinating are the Atlantic reefs that often divers find they don’t notice the cold until they emerge from the water shivering and very grateful for offers of hot beverages. The Atlantic season is mercifully short from a hypothermia perspective -- by March diving has usually shifted back to the False Bay side of the peninsula -- but it seriously limits the opportunities for seeing those animals only seen on the Atlantic side, like the last two sponge crabs. So it’s worth hauling out the extra layer of insulation and getting underwater while the going is good. Left top: A furred sponge crab peers shyly out from under its ascidian cloak (Andrew Taylor) Left middle: The short hairs of the sumo crab are remarkably effective for camouflage (Peter Gordon) Left bottom: The shaggy sponge crab has an abiding fondness for a lurid green sponge (Latruncula lunaviridis). (Peter Southwood) Right: The Atlantic side might be chilly but there are more-than-adequate compensations in the brilliant colours and extraordinary biodiversity (Geoff Spiby)
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Diving with ear problems Practical advice By Dr Frans J Cronjé
Bony outgrowths: Exostoses Cause: Mainly cold water. Effect: Can impair the natural
Of all the potential problems that affect divers, ear and sinus problems are not only the most common, but also most likely to keep divers out of the water – for many the grimmest prognosis of all... This article offers an overview on the most common diving maladies related to the ears and offers some practical advice on how to prevent and manage problems if they occur.
removal of wax and water debris. Can result in a blocked canal. Solution: If troublesome, surgery may be needed
The significant changes in pressure encountered during diving cause large pressure-volume shifts in the airspaces of the body. For some, such as the intestines, these changes are usually insignificant. For others, such as the ears, sinuses, face mask and lungs, these changes may be hazardous unless deliberate measures are taken by the diver to prevent problems. Much of diver training is focussed on teaching divers these measures. Unfortunately technical issues are not the only consideration. Upper respiratory tract infections, scarring from previous infections or surgery and anatomical abnormalities may all complicate the ability to adjust pressure in the ears and sinuses. In addition, immersion and exposure to cold water may have potentially adverse effects on the ears. Diving-related problems of the ear fall into two categories: (1) exposure to water and (2) exposure to pressure. Water affects the quality of hearing and our ability to localise sound. Immersion also exposes the external ear to water with the risk of maceration (water-logging of the skin) infection. Cold water exposure may cause dizziness due to stimulation of the inner ear. Over time, chronic exposure to cold water (i.e. less than 20˚C) results in exostoses (i.e. bony outgrowths in the external ear). Pressure, on the other hand, may result in trauma called barotrauma, ear squeeze (during descent) or reverse blocks (during ascent). It may also lead to the absorption of inert gas (i.e. nitrogen) with a potential risk of developing decompression sickness. Dizziness, or more specifically vertigo (i.e. a false sense of spinning) may occur during descent due to rupture of the ear drum with the entry of cold water into the middle ear, nitrogen narcosis, pressure on the ear drum being transferred to the inner ear (i.e. alternobaric vertigo), or high pressure nervous syndrome when divers dive deeper than approximately 150 m. As problems of infection and barotrauma are the most common, and also primarily affect recreational divers, this article will discuss these conditions. AfricanDiver.com 26
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Swimmer’s ear: Otitis externa Causes: Loss of protective ear
wax, water-logging of the skin, colonisation by water-loving bacteria or fungi, and sometimes additional trauma from divers using cotton buds or other foreign objects to dry or scratch an “itching” ear. Effect: Infection, inflammation of the external ear and ear ache. Solution: Do not fiddle with the ear. For those who get these infections regularly, replace the anti-bacterial effect of natural ear wax with an artificial one. The ProEar® mask.
Anatomy and physiology The ear consists of three parts: the external ear – a partly cartilaginous and partly bony canal lined with skin, which is exposed to water during diving; the middle ear – an isolated gas space through which sound waves are conducted to the inner ear and which communicates to the outside world via the Eustachian tube; and the inner ear – where sound waves and balance stimuli are converted into electrical impulses and conducted to the brain. Each portion of the ear has its own unique features and problems which are described hereafter. The external ear The external ear begins with the visible auricular appendage called the pinna which also contains a fleshy protective lump, called the trachus. This tell-tale spot provides a valuable clue for identifying external ear infections (it becomes tender to the touch). The external opening to the ear canal leads upwards, backwards and inwards towards the ear drum. The skin over the external part of the ear contains hair and modified sweat glands that produce the cerumen or ear wax. This wax is a natural barrier to water and infection and it is removed by continuous soaking during diving. Beyond the outer third of the ear follows an area of skin with no hairs and no wax glands. This smooth skin overlies bone and is very thin, very fragile and very painful if infected or traumatised. This external ear canal ends at the ear drum – a pearly white, semi-translucent structure that is as thin as tissue paper, but surprisingly strong.
External ear barotrauma Causes: Can result when a diver wears ear plugs, when a tight fitting hood traps air in the external ear canal or when the ear is completely blocked by wax. Effect: Pressure damage to the external ear – after ache. Solution: Treatment of the after ache with simple analgesics is usually sufficient. Don’t dive with ear plugs! A specialised ear plug, Proplug, premits pressure equalisation while diving and keeps the ear relatively dry.
Bony outgrowths: Exostoses Divers and swimmers, especially those who spend a lot of time in cold water, sometimes develop bony outgrowths into the ear canal called exostoses. Theory has it that cold water irritates or damages the underlying bone resulting in subsequent gradual overgrowth of bone. These bony outgrowths are not troublesome as such but can eventually impair the natural removal of wax, water and debris from the ear, or lead to a block of the canal. If this happens, surgery may be needed. Swimmer’s ear: Otitis externa The most common problem with the external ear, and the second most common problem in divers, is otitis externa or swimmer’s ear. It is the result of a combination of factors including the loss of protective ear wax, water-logging of the skin, colonisation by water-loving bacteria or fungi and sometimes additional trauma from divers using cotton buds or other foreign objects to dry or scratch an “itching” ear. The most important preventative strategy is to not fiddle with the ears and, for those who get these infections regularly, to replace the anti-bacterial effect of natural ear wax with an artificial one. Traditionally various preparations have been used that contain vinegar (acetic acid). A combination of acetic acid/aluminium acetate/sodium acetate is marketed as Domeboro® which is quite effective in preventing ear infections. Once an infection starts, however, a combination of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication is usually required on prescription. Ear ache due to external otitis can be severe and once the ear canal has swollen shut it becomes more difficult to treat. Needless to say it can ruin a diving trip so obtain medical assistance early, don’t delay. Another preventative measure for people struggling with persistent external ear infections is the ProEar® mask which cups the ears in a way similar to a face mask and is connected to the mask to allow equalising of the cups through two reinforced tubes. This mask keeps the ears dry but ear equalising is still required.
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Middle ear barotrauma Causes: When equalising is still unsuccessful at 6 to 33 fsw (2 to 10 MSW) pressure. Effect: The eardrum will usually rupture. There is usually significant deafness upon return to the surface, followed by severe pain some two to five hours later due to an inflammatory response to the water. There could even be gradual tearing and bleeding within and behind the ear drum. Solution: Treatment by a medical professional. Nasal and oral decongestants are invariably prescribed in an effort to normalise Eustachian tube function.
External ear barotrauma: Pressure damage of the external ear can result when a diver wears ear plugs, when a tight fitting hood traps air in the external ear canal, or when the ear is completely blocked by wax. As the volume of gas decreases due to Boyle’s law, the eardrum starts to bulge into the canal and the ear plug may be forced deeper into the canal. Attempts at ear equalising will only make matters worse. Fortunately it is rare for the ear drum to rupture in this way and treatment of the after ache with simple analgesics (painkillers) is usually sufficient. Don’t dive with ear plugs. Having said that, there is a fenestrated (pierced with one or more openings) ear plug known as Doc’s Proplugs that permits pressure equalisation while diving and keeps the ear relatively dry. Although no large scale research has been conducted, an observational study of 1 000 dives by the Sardinian Institute of Underwater and Hyperbaric Medicine in 2005 was very positive. At least 55 000 divers use these devices regularly with no reported adverse events. Our limited experience has been equally favourable. Some divers seem to also find ear equalising easier.
The middle ear The middle ear starts at the inner side of the ear drum. It contains three miniature bones – the malleus (hammer), the incus (anvil) and the stapes (stirrup) – that form a chain that amplifies sound waves from the ear drum to the inner ear. The middle ear communicates with the outside world via a partially collapsed tube called the Eustachian tube. This tube allows oxygen to be replaced as it is continually absorbed by the mucus lining of the middle ear. The tube also permits pressure equilibration during changes in atmospheric pressure while diving or with altitude changes. When the diver equalises, air is driven from the back of throat through this tube into the middle ear. Because the space is semi-closed, there is a constant tendency to form a vacuum. The vacuum is usually broken (i.e. equalising occurs) by yawning, swallowing or chewing. Most people can sense a pressure equivalent of about 30 cm of water on the ear drum. However, if a diver descends more than three feet, the increased pressure collapses the Eustachian tube, and it is no longer possible to equalise, even with a forceful attempt. This is similar to trying to blow through a kinked straw. It can’t be done. It needs to be “unkinked” first.
Middle ear barotrauma: Approximately 65% of all divers will suffer from this malady at some stage during their years of diving. Diving to a depth of as little as 3 to 6 fsw (1 to 2 MSW) without equalising will already cause some degree of barotrauma. If equalising is still unsuccessful at 6 to 33 fsw (2 to 10 MSW), the eardrum will usually rupture. Divers who have experienced ear drum rupture describe momentary relief of pain as the tension on the ear drum is relieved. This is followed by an episode of extreme dizziness as cold water rushes in and irritates the inner ear. As the water warms to body temperature the dizziness settles and divers may believe that their equalising problems are over. With water now filling the middle ear space, there is no further need to equalise the affected ear. However, there is usually significant deafness upon return to the surface, followed by severe pain some 2-5 hours later due to an inflammatory response to the water. Between minor irritation and a perforation of the ear drum lies a spectrum of gradual tearing and bleeding within and behind the ear drum. Such middle ear barotrauma should be treated by a medical professional. Nasal and systemic (oral) decongestants are invariably prescribed in an effort to normalise Eustachian tube function – the key to a healthy middle ear. Return to diving should be delayed until pain has disappeared, all signs of damage have resolved, any perforations have closed and healed and the ability to equalise with ease has returned.
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The inner ear The inner ear consists of a complex of tubes and nerve endings that offer a mechanical-electrical interface for sound and balance stimuli. It is organised into the cochlea for hearing and the vestibular system for balance. Unless exposed to high levels of noise, the cochlea is usually unaffected by recreational diving. However, there is a risk of barotrauma to the inner ear which may have permanent consequences. For these reasons divers are told never to force their ears to equalise. The vestibular system provides signals for orientation. On land, the eyes and joints offer additional sensory input, but under water, vision and gravity are reduced so that the vestibular system becomes vital for orientation. Disorientation, vertigo and motion sickness are all related to the vestibular system but fall outside the scope of this article. We would like to concentrate on the pressure-related effects on the inner ear and barotrauma in particular.
Inner ear barotrauma: Strenuous or prolonged attempts at middle ear equilibrium, particularly when using forceful Valsalva’s manoeuvres, may elevate pressure inside the skull and inner ear to such an extent that it causes rupture of inner ear structures. Vertigo that starts during descent is particularly suspicious when accompanied by difficulty equalising. If the vertigo is ongoing and is accompanied by any of the following, medical attention is urgent: intense ringing in the ears, a sensation of fullness in the ear, deafness, nausea and vomiting, loss of balance and jerky eye movements (i.e. nystagmus). Inner ear decompression illness may present in a similar way, but is quite rare. It usually occurs during or after ascent and is usually associated with deep or technical dives involving the use of helium. The treatment of inner ear barotrauma is bed rest with the head elevated to reduce intra-cerebral pressure. The diver must be evaluated with an audiogram (for the cochlea) and an electronystagmogram (for the vestibular system) and must receive a full ENT and neurological evaluation. Symptoms often resolve spontaneously within two to three days. Surgical measures should only be considered for persistent round and oval window leaks, when there is a delay in recovery or when there is progressive deterioration in hearing or balance function. A FINAL NOTE Diving is a safe sport that exerts significant pressure on the structures of the ear. With proper care, training and the avoidance of discomfort or pain, injury is unlikely or minimal. Without proper attention, permanent deafness may result and surgery may be required for ruptures of the ear drum or inner ear. Diving with a head cold is inadvisable. Never force the ears and equalise early and often. Ear equalising techniques Active ear equalising is not a natural activity for humans. Many people are actually “scared” of their ears. They describe the fullness of equalising as uncomfortable or even painful. Frequently, painful memories of childhood ear infections add to this fear. Such individuals are likely to equalise very slowly and carefully, ineffectively or not at all. The confusion surrounding ear equalisation is compounded by the fact that it is difficult to describe how hard to blow (Valsalva technique) and what “successful” ear equalising feels (or sounds) like. Divers should also be told specifically never to Valsalva during ascent as this constitutes “breathholding”. Instructors should bear in mind that divers that are particularly squeamish about their ears, may not only have problems equalising, but may also be more prone to panic underwater. There are many techniques for equalising the middle ear to ambient pressure. Only the most common and useful ones have been listed to provide divers with a number of options, as some people may respond better to one particular technique than to others. They include: Swallowing or yawning, Voluntary Eustachian tube opening (beance tubaire voluntaire - BTV), Valsalva, Toynbee, Frenzel, Twitching techniques.
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Swallowing and yawning: These are the natural ways in which the middle ear is equilibrated. Middle ear infections in childhood are largely the result of failure of these normal mechanisms. Even in sleep, equalising occurs approximately every five minutes through swallowing, while it occurs every minute while awake. BTV: Some individuals have the knack of opening their Eustachian tubes voluntarily by a kind of twitch in the throat or an invisible yawn. Many professional divers eventually master this technique. Valsalva: Perhaps the most popular equalising method is the technique described by Antonio Maria Valsalva in 1704. It involves blowing against a pinched, blocked nose so that air is forced up the Eustachian tubes, thereby equalising the middle ear. It can unfortunately be performed too forcefully, leading to inner ear problems. Therefore, the safest recommendation to divers is to blow harder than it would take to inflate a large balloon and to never perform an uninterrupted attempt of more than five seconds. Toynbee: Joseph Toynbee described a technique of pinching the nose and swallowing simultaneously. The action of the soft palate and adjacent muscles then opens the Eustachian tube while a pressure wave in the nasopharynx moves air in and out of the middle ear. As a result, this is a very sensitive test for Eustachian tube dysfunction as only small pressures are involved. Frenzel: A German flight surgeon, Herman Frenzel, described a technique for the benefit of Stuka pilots in WWII. It involves moving the tongue backwards quickly against the soft palate, thereby creating a pressure wave as well as positioning the muscles for easy equalisation. The technique is even better when combined with pinching of the nose. The best way to teach this technique is to have the subject say the nose. It is a very gentle and therefore a very safe technique. People who struggle with the Valsalva technique often find that this technique works for them. Twitching: This is a good technique to get people started who are unfamiliar with equalising. While pinching the nose, the subject swiftly turns the head to the side. The ear facing forward generally equalises. The technique can be repeated for the other ear. Head tilting: This technique corrects asynchronous equalising. Many divers find that one ear is more difficult to equalise than the other. The head is tilted sideways from the neck (so as to point the “bad ear” upwards) while keeping the shoulders horizontal. This stretches
the folds around the Eustachian and straightens it, making equalising easier. Edmonds: This technique exploits the effect of jutting the jaw forward. Again, this manoeuvre tends to open the Eustachian tube, and should be combined with other conventional equalising techniques. Lowry: Another combination technique described by Christopher Lowry may be useful to improve equalising in general. It involves pinching the nose and blowing against a blocked nose while swallowing simultaneously. Although this is impractical to do with a regulator in place, it can assist with the discovery and improvement of equalising techniques. Otovent®: A product distributed by Invotec International. The Otovent has been promoted for the prevention and treatment of otitis by treating negative ear pressure caused by Eustachian tube dysfunction. This device, made up of a nozzle and a balloon, is very useful to train novice divers about the correct amount of pressure required to equalise. It also verifies effective attempts at auto inflation. Regular practice with the Otovent® may improve the ability to equalise. In addition to equalising techniques, several known factors may compromise Eustachian tube function and should be avoided or treated. Many people display a low-grade allergy towards dairy products. Avoidance of all dairy products two days prior to diving often provides significant relief. Some people have very sensitive nasal linings. These are the people who, for instance, tend to sneeze when their feet are in contact with a cold surface. Preventative use of nasal decongestants with diving may be appropriate for this group of individuals. Physical obstructions are not uncommon in the nose and may include fleshy outgrowths called polyps or a skew nasal septum. Corrective surgery is a legitimate and effective remedy for these conditions. Inflammation of the nasal passages also clearly compromises the ability to equalise.
only result in pain during diving, blockage of the airways may present fatal complications. Finally, chronic use of nasal decongestants may result in the rebound congestion that will make equalising problems worse. The two most commonly prescribed medications for equalising problems or middle ear barotrauma are pseudoephedrine tablets and oxymetazoline nasal spray. Both are chemical relatives of adrenaline (epinephrine) and narrow blood vessels to reduce engorgement. The use of decongestants for the purpose of diving can only be justified if it is intended to improve an existing ability to equalise, not to make it possible, and even then it should be taken with caution and for no more than five days. Prolonged use causes rhinitis medicamentosa, a chronic stuffy, running nose that is unresponsive to decongestion. Finally, divers should know how to preserve and protect their ears. Upon discovering any equalising problem or ear pain, further descent should be stopped immediately. The diver should then ascend 3 to 6 fsw (1 to 2 MSW) to reverse the locked-blocked situation. Various techniques for ear equalising may then be attempted, bearing in mind that the ear should never be forced, and no attempt at blowing should exceed five seconds. If all these measures fail, the dive should be ended.
Smoking and head colds prevent effective drainage of mucus from the sinuses and may predispose to ear and sinus barotrauma. It should also be remembered that the ears are really a “safety net” for the lungs: Blockage of the nasal passages and ears is not an isolated phenomenon. Frequently there is some blockage and inflammation in the airways of the lungs as well. However, whereas blockage of the ears will
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In the last issue of African Diver I briefly mentioned the “Ocean” commercial where we filmed a fridge underwater with Monty the moray and George the potato bass, two great characters from days past at Sodwana Bay. These days much use is made of filming underwater in the commercials area of the film industry. Underwater shooting is far more accessible now and of course the camera equipment available today makes the job a lot easier.
Shooting video commercials underwater Text & images by Gordon Hiles
In 1987 when we did “Ocean”, there was not much in the way of 35mm underwater movie camera equipment in South Africa, not to mention that underwater video was still a thing of the future. Our budget in any case limited us to 16mm so we shot on an Arriflex 16SR in an Arrimarin housing. We were a small crew – director Tony Shuttleworth, production manager Heather Setzen, myself as underwater cameraman and one or two others to help with the admin of the job. We scheduled three days at Sodwana to complete the task trusting our luck that the weather would play along. First day underwater we rigged our specially constructed scaled down sized fridge in a suitable spot on the seabed. We chose Sodwana because of the rich coral reefs that would provide the marine scenery that was desired. Using suitable tricks on the angles at which we shot the images of the fridge, we were able to create the impression that the fridge was nestled on the reef. Remember,
CG techniques were not available to us in 1987 so we had to use the proverbial trick photography. With the co-operation of the two characters mentioned earlier, i.e. Monty and George, we set about shooting the required images for the storyboard. Working at a depth of 10m was optimum for us. This allowed us sufficient natural light. This image - Gordon on his safety stop (photo by Cormac McCreesh)
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We were lucky that the weather provided a sunny day although the wind had swung to south westerly and that is not always good for the conditions at Sodwana. Experience of this told us that we needed to get the diving done by midday. Shooting on daylight balanced 16mm film under natural light still required that I shoot through a 80% red correction filter to replace the lost colours that the water filters out – water being a natural blue filter in photographic terms. Again, previous experience had taught us the parameters and tolerances within which the colour control could be managed. We could not have asked for more of Monty and George as they almost made nuisances of themselves in front of the camera and the fridge. It was as if they knew that something unusual was taking place and they were making certain that they were going to be part of it. Our dive lasted 45 minutes and we started to experience a change in the surge towards the end. I left the water while Tony floated the fridge to the surface with a small lifting bag. Our plan was to place it in a different spot the next day for alternative shots. I had shot 7 to 8 minutes of footage that I was confident would be acceptable. By the time we reached the beach the wind had whipped up the sea and clouds were already closing in fast. This was not what we needed but we still stayed to see what the next day would bring. Luck was not on our side and it was a no-dive day. Time had run out as well and we decided that we just had to trust that the material we had shot was going to do the trick. We departed Sodwana later that day. Back in Joburg we watched the rushes after processing the film at the labs. This must have been one of the most economical commercial shoots in history. Out of the 7 odd minutes of film exposed, Tony was able to satisfy the needs of the edit without any problem and the result was one of the first commercials to go underwater with its complete storyboard. This set the trend for more to follow.
Following up on “Ocean”, I was involved in a shoot for a fruit juice product where the hero was a dolphin and the companion was a young lady. This required shots of the two of them swimming together and this was achieved in the dolphin pool in Port AfricanDiver.com 32
Elizabeth. This was easy in some ways because the dolphins were used to working with us humans. However the challenge was to avoid shooting any infrastructure in order to show a free swimming girl and dolphin. Again I shot on the 16mm Arri rig providing ample material for the edit. Working with the dolphins was a fine experience and I was intrigued to see how fast they understood what was going on.
I found myself being gently lifted to the surface by the dolphin that had inserted its snout under my armpit to nudge me upwards. This was aptly displayed at one stage when we had completed a sequence and the trainer on the surface signaled the dolphin that the task was over. I was still down below without any comms and the next thing I found myself being gently lifted to the surface by the dolphin that had inserted its snout under my armpit to nudge me upwards. On the surface I faced a very chatty dolphin and after the trainer instructed me to put my hand out to acknowledge the action, the dolphin made contact with it and then swam off. Job done. Pool cleaner and chemical commercials almost always require underwater shooting and I did my fair share of this. Mostly it was shots of the product in action doing its cleaning job. However, a famous brand chlorine product really needed to show the quality of swimming pool water if it was put to use. Cobalt blue water was required for this. Again, the amount of manipulation one could do in 1996 was fairly limited so we needed to find water like this as well as have an infinity background. The result was about four days of shooting in open Indian Ocean water off the Comores. We used two lady models to alternate the action and filmed them on 35mm film at high speed to achieve slow graceful motion as they drifted effortlessly through the water. The images showed the models in pure white bathing suits against the deep cobalt blue colour of the sea. On this occasion we had no weather problems; no water quality problems; and since we were shooting only 3 meters below the surface, we did not even have to colour correct. In fact, the small amount of blue filtering that the water provided only added to the rich colour quality of the image. A series of alternative versions of this commercial was released using the abundance of material captured during the four days in the water.
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Lastly, a story of a hermit crab looking for a new home was used for an insurance product. Working with Rob Waldron of Wild Dog Productions, we set about shooting under controlled conditions in the old and now demolished Durban Aquarium. This was not my first job of shooting there. I had previously shot a variety of things from Christmas mermaids to a Ninja fight sequence for a feature movie, as well as shark dives and other documentary subjects. This time round we tackled the job with a Digibeta camera in my own designed and custom built Betacam underwater housing. Rob had commissioned a puppet to be built for the little hero hermit crab, so with
this little fellow strategically placed in a setting at the bottom of the aquarium tank and the camera lined up, the puppet was manipulated into action leaving behind his old shell and going off in search of a new one. Of course this whole process needed to take time and I found myself underwater for fairly long stretches getting the shots done. All the time this was going on, the normal activity of the marine creatures in the tank continued. The general trend was that they swim around the perimeter without much let-up. This included the sting rays, the game fish and of course the resident turtles that by now had become the extremely pedantic ‘owners’ of the turf in the main tank after being in there for so many years. We found ourselves right in the middle of their holding pattern as they habitually circled, and this proved to be quite an issue with them. In spite of flattening myself as much as possible on the sandy bottom of the tank, I was pushed and jostled every time one of these large shelled animals cruised by.
port of the camera giving a determined look through. It raised its head and studied the scene in front of the camera and then took hold of the viewing port in its mouth and shifted the camera slightly; took another look through the viewfinder and then swam off without even glancing my way.
‘Bloody cheek’ I thought to myself and immediately checked how much the shot had been disrupted. Well, the adjustment the old bugger had made in fact reframed things to almost a perfect balance so we decided not change anything and just record what we now had in shot!
We continued until the job was complete, and it was noticeable that after the old turtle had taken charge of things and made the necessary adjustment, there was no longer any disturbance from any of them. I guess there is still so much that animals can teach us. To view these commercials click here and scroll down to Showreel Video Links
I think one of them in particular finally had enough when I became aware of some rather persistent shoving and pushing at which I looked up to see a huge turtle head about to butt me out of the way. I retreated as much as possible allowing the beast the space it was demanding. It immediately took over my position behind the viewing AfricanDiver.com 33
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A Fishy Future - is aquaculture a sustainable option By Scott Buckley
t is now common knowledge that the worlds fish stocks are in serious trouble. The pressure placed on fish stocks by intensive commercial fishing has made a major impact on fish stocks around the globe, with 52% of commercial fish stocks now being fully exploited and 24% being overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. The worldwide fishing fleet is also now roughly Two and a half times larger than is considered to be sustainable. Bycatch levels are also now at dangerous levels, with 300,000 whales and dolphins, 250,000 endangered loggerhead and leather back turtles and more than a 100 million sharks falling victim to fishing gear each year, just to mention a few. These alarming statistics can be attributed to a number of factors including; poor fisheries management worldwide, massive technological advances in fishing techniques, unreported illegal fishing and the ever growing demand for seafood as the worldâ€™s population continues to grow. If strong action is not taken on a global scale to curb these unsustainable fishing trends, it is certain that many fish stocks will collapse and others will be lost forever. One only need look at the large ocean predators as an example, whose biomass is now only at 10% of what it was prior to industrial fishing.
With all these alarming statistics being reported it is hard to believe that there is any hope for the marine environment and its inhabitants. The truth is, there is a growing awareness about these matters worldwide and more and more organisations, NGOâ€™s and government subsidised, are forming each year and are working towards solutions for the many problems faced by the marine environment. There is no easy answer, it is going to take cooperation between governments to improve fisheries management globally and it will require heightened awareness at an individual level as consumers to only purchase and endorse sustainably caught seafood products.
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Aquaculture has been seen as one of the solutions and has been said to be the future of fisheries and fish production, and is now responsible for a third of the total global fish production each year .
Although it will take a global effort to curb the current overexploitation of the world’s fish stocks, we also need to look at what we can do as individuals to minimize our impact on the ocean.
This is a subject that has been the centre of much debate for many years and has many pros and cons and can be argued from both sides.
The most important thing we can do as individuals is to educate ourselves on what species and what seafood products to avoid and what species are being harvested at sustainable levels.
The fact is that aquaculture can be harmful to the environment in terms of pollution, spreading of disease and the escaping of alien species into fragile ecosystems, sometimes leading to the eradication of indigenous species. This being said, huge amounts of research are being done into sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of producing fish on a large scale. Already, ‘green’ feeds have been developed that only use recycled plant materials as opposed to grain and fish meals that have been used traditional If truly sustainable methods of aquaculture can be developed, there is no denying that it could relieve huge pressures off global fish stocks and be the very thing that saves our seas. This may still be a way off now, but with proper consumer education in only purchasing products that are grown in a sustainable manner, it will force the industry to change and develop sustainable production techniques. Locally, there are a number of sustainable aquaculture operations up and running, primarily filter feeding species such as black mussels and oysters. Another species that shows huge potential in being produced using sustainable methods are the fresh water Tilapia’s, in particular, the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus).
In November 2004 the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) was launched. The three objectives of the initiative are to; Promote voluntary compliance of the law through education and awareness, Shift consumer demand away from over-exploited species to more sustainable options, Create awareness around marine conservation issues. SASSI provides a number of services that allows the consumer to make educated choices. These services include the SASSI list, which is a colour coded list which tells consumer which seafood species are legal and more sustainable choices from South African seafood populations. Green species are the best choices as they can handle current fishing pressure better. Orange species should be considered with caution as they are either over-exploited, or from problematic fisheries. Red species are illegal to sell in South Africa, and some of them are specially protected. Another service is the FISHMS, a cellular phone based service that allows you to check on the status of a particular species with one SMS. For further information on sustainable fishing and fisheries related topics go to the SASSI website.
The Nile Tilapia is an herbivorous species that can be feed on a combination of plant material based feeds and naturally occurring algae’s in the pond water. They grow extremely quickly when farmed in tunnels where high water temperatures can be maintained, ideal for African climates. The Flesh is white and extremely palatable which makes it popular locally and on foreign markets. This is a species that could be used locally to relieve the pressure on our fish stocks.
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Meet the DAN-SA Team In 2006, DAN-SA celebrated its ten year anniversary. From its humble beginning, with less than 1 000 members, DAN-SA now has nearly 9 000 members, its own offices, seven board members (Dr Frans Cronjé, Mr Francois Burman, Dr Allan Kayle, Prof Alessandro Marroni, Prof Barney De Villiers, Dr Andy Branfield and Mr Don MacRobert), two company directors, a medical director, five part-time hotline physicians and five full time staff members. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our members. Without your support DAN would not exist. We also owe our success to the wonderful and dedicated team of people who have worked very hard to make DAN what it is today. Dr Frans Cronjé founded DAN-SA in 1996 and served as its first board member. Today, he serves as President and Managing Director together with Francois Burman, who joined DANSA in December 1998 as Financial and Operations Director.
Core Team DR FRANS CRONJÉ Frans is the founder, President and Managing Director of DAN-SA. He is a board member of DAN Europe and International DAN. He is a NAUI instructor (since 1991), trained as a commercial diver and chamber supervisor and a DAN instructor trainer examiner. He is considered the leading pioneer of modern hyperbaric oxygen therapy in southern Africa and has dedicated his professional career to introduce and expand this scientific,therapeutic modality in South Africa. He is a General Medical Practitioner with an MBChB and an MSc in Aerospace Medicine from the University of Pretoria. He completed an academic Fellowship in Diving, Hyperbaric and Underwater Medicine at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA in 2003. Formerly in private practice at the Eugene Marais Wound Care and Hyperbaric Therapy Centre, he now serves as a diving and aviation medical examiner and a consultant in otolaryngological aspects of aerospace, diving and hyperbaric medicine in Pretoria and CapeTown; he has a special interest in dizziness and balance disorders. He is a researcher and part-time senior lecturer at the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (University of Stellenbosch). He is the past President of the Southern African Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Association (SAUHMA) and President of theInternational Congress for Hyperbaric Medicine (ICHM) that will be hosting its 17th international meeting in Cape Town in 2011. He is an avid scuba diver! FRANCOIS BURMAN Francois accepted the position of Financial and Operations Director for DAN-SA in December 1998. He is currently responsible for the operational, technical, safety, financial and insurance aspects of DAN and its programmes. Due to his vision and expertise in international recompression chamber manufacture, he was commissioned by International DAN (IDAN) in 1999 to develop a system for evaluating recompression chambers, appropriate for the treatment of decompression illness of scuba divers around the globe. This programme is known globally as the Recompression Chamber Assistance and Partnering Programme (RCAPP). Francois has a BSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town. He spent eight years of his working career with the Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa. A career change in 1994 took him into the realms of hyperbaric technology, when he joined a Cape Town based company which specialised in life-support and underwater engineering. It was during these next seven years that he was able to further his interests in diving and hyperbaric medical technology eventually joining DAN-SA in 1998. He serves as Treasurer on the board of International DAN and is the technical consultant for the various international recompression chamber assistanceprogrammes. Francois is also an active scuba diver. HELIA VAN ZYL Helia has been working at DAN-SA since February 2001 when DAN was still part of Medical Rescue International. Helia commenced her career in the hospitality industry, working mainly in southern Mozambique at a diving resort; she then went on to further her studies in Business Management. Helia is an experienced DAN Instructor and has the additional benefit of being fluent in Portuguese. Helia serves as our DAN Office Manager where she is responsible for the operational aspect of Membership Services and the staff. We credit her – together with her staff – for the excellent growth DAN has enjoyed as the leading diving safety organisation in southern Africa. Helia has been diving since 1999.
MORNE CHRISTOU Morne started with DAN in February 2006. Morne started his career at the Knysna Elephant Park and went on to work at various diving resorts in southern and northern Mozambique, serving respectively as tour operator, dive guide and water sports manager. Morne manages DAN-SA’s Special Projects and Marketing, and is also our Diving Safety Partners Programme (DSP) Co-ordinator. Morne was instrumental in managing the building of the DAN offices. His diligence and attention to detail are remarkable. He spent most of 2006 and 2007 setting up the chamber support programme in Zanzibar. Morne regularly attends events all over southern Africa, visiting dive shops and implementing the various DAN training and membership programmes, and various other DAN projects, wherever he goes. Morne has been diving since 1999 and is currently an active PADI instructor. DAWN CARVER After ten years with Netcare 911, where she was actively involved with the DAN hotline, Dawn started working for DAN-SA as an inhouse DAN Medic in January 2009. Dawn has extensive experience in the paramedical, operations, and emergency evacuations field. She started off as a volunteer in the emergency services while still at school, and then decided to make this a career. She holds a qualification as an Ambulance Emergency Assistant. Dawn has specialised in Air Evacuation and Repatriation, internationally and locally. She was a team leader at the Netcare flight desk for the past two years before joining the DAN-SA team. Dawn is responsible for supporting the Medical Information and Emergency Hotline services during office hours. She continues to work closely with Netcare when further assistance or evacuation is required and provides important quality assurance and customer care related to these calls. Dawn offers a uniquely personal and even more caring dimension to the services DAN offers its members and divers at large. Dawn is an open water diver and has been diving since 2007. SEL-MARIE PEREIRA Sel-Marie started with DAN in April 2002. She began her career in the vehicle finance industry working in customer service. She then went on to vehicle sales and client services. Sel-Marie is our DAN Membership Services Administrator. She is responsible for all aspects of membership administration, data capturing and sales. Sel-Marie is a wonderful asset to the DAN Team with her dedication and attention to detail. She has been diving since 2001. TONI MCQUILLEN Toni started with DAN in June 2008. Following a sojourn in promotions, Toni went on to pursue a career in the diving industry where she has worked her way up to master diver, obtaining various specialties and working in a dive shop for many years. Toni serves as our Membership Services Assistant and is responsible for assisting in the general day to day administration of DAN-SA membership as well as the student membership. Toni has been diving since 2002
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Medical Team DR JACK MEINTJES Jack has been the medical Director of DAN-SA since 2007, he is a full fellow of the College of Public Health Medicine of South Africa (Occupational Medicine) and holds the MMed (Occupational Medicine) degree and is a consultant in occupational medicine at the university of Stellenbosch. He has successfully completed various courses and formal qualifications in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine and personally developed the curriculums for the BScMedScHons (Underwater Medicine) and BScMedScHons (Hyperbaric Medicine) degree programmes. He worked at the Institute for Maritime Medicine as head of diving and submarine medicine from 2001 to 2003, providing medical support to the SA Navy divers. He is serving on the Diving Council of the Department of Labour and advises the Chief Inspector on commercial diving medical matters. He currently lectures in the Division of Community Health (University of Stellenbosch) and provides post-graduate occupational health as well as hyperbaric and diving medical training. He also chairsthe diving medical panel, dealing with complicated fitness to dive issues. Dr Meintjes also developed the curriculum for the refresher course in Underwater Medicine for diving doctors. Dr Meintjes is an active diver with not only recreational diving and hyperbaric medicine expertise but also vast commercial diving medical knowledge and experience. DR FRANS CRONJÉ Frans is the founder, President and Managing Director of DAN-SA. He is a board member of DAN Europe and International DAN.
DR LOURENS DE KOCK Lourens is one of the partners in a busy diving, aviation and maritime medical practice in Cape Town. Born in Mapumalanga and growing up in KwaZulu-Natal, Lourens has always had a love for the sea. Diving and Diving Medicine are his passion and have taken him around the world, often as a diving medical officer responsible for commercial diving operations off-shore. With both a medical degree and a BScMedSc(Hons) degree in Diving and Underwater Medicine from the University of Stellenbosch (SUN), Lourens brings considerable experience, knowledge and passion to DAN. DR ROB SCHNEIDER Rob is a general medical practitioner practising full-time in Emergency Medicine in Pretoria. He completed his medical degree and started diving in the year 2000. In addition to running a private level 1 Trauma Unit, Rob has accumulated a wealth of experience in clinical hyperbaric oxygen therapy. He is an avid scuba and breathhold diver. He is also completing a BScMedSc(Hons) training in Diving and Underwater Medicine at SUN. We are delighted that Rob has joined our ranks; he brings important emergency medical knowledge and experience to the team.
DR MIKE MARSHALL Mike obtained his MBBCh degree from WITS University in 1985. In 1987 he received a BScMed(Hons) in Sport Science from the University of Cape Town. He completed the Diving and Submarine Medicine Diploma at the Institute for Maritime Medicine in 1988; the Fellow of the College of Surgeons (SA) Part 1a (SA College of Medicine) in 1989; Advanced Trauma Life Support (AEMS in Durban) in 1994; Advanced Cardiac Life Support (AEMS, Durban) in 1997; Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Staff Training Course (Pretoria) in 1999; Bennett and Elliott’s Physiology and Medicine of Diving Course (IMM) in 2002; Certified Hyperbaric Technologist Certification (via NBDHMT, Louisiana) in 2003. He serves as the Medical Director for the St Augustine’s Hyperbaric Medicine Centre since its inception in 2000. He has been a part-time medical officer to DAN since 2002.
DR GARY MORRIS Gary is a general medical practitioner from Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal. His proximity to Aliwal Shoal and a love and compassion for people and their general health have rapidly expanded his medical activities to encompass diving medicine. Being introduced to the underwater realm several years ago DR ISABEL DU PREEZ has further expanded his interest. Gary is also completing Isabel was the first DAN doctor in his BScMedSc(Hons) in Diving and Underwater Zanzibar on call at the EAHC (East Medicine at SUN. Apart from his medical degree, Gary Africa Hyperbaric Centre) medical also has a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and a Masters facility. She graduated from the degree in Family Medicine. His love for the outdoors – University of Pretoria in 2003, attaining sailing, snorkeling, and hiking – adds to a well-rounded her MBChB. In 2007 she completed background. a BScMedSci(Hons) in Underwater Medicine from the University of Stellenbosch. Dr Du Preez is currently one of the Directors of the emergency rooms at Akasia Hospital in Pretoria. Diving is one of her greatest passions. She says that working with such a wonderful group of committed and like-minded professionals is a privilege and pleasure to her.
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During office hours, all calls to the DAN-SA hotline on 0800 020 111 or +27 828 10 60 10 will be taken by our in-house medic. After hours and overflow calls as well as emergency calls requiring evacuations will be answered by the DAN hotline staff at Netcare â€“ these operators have been especially trained and have experience in dealing with DAN calls. Alongside are operators that will take the DAN hotline calls after hours AfricanDiver.com 38
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Featured photographer - Simon Brown
Top left: Yamil & the sunlight. Dive guide Yamil posing in the Red Sea
Top centre: Tommy & the gorgor-
gonian. Taken at 42m in Trondheim Fjord, Norway. The only place in the world where a cold water coral reef is in scuba range. Dressed in drysuits, in the dark and cold it felt just so wrong to photograph a coral reef.
Top right: Mark and cuttlefish.
Taken at Port Cros Marine Park, France. It took a while to get the cuttlefish to relax and Mark in position, but the result was a magazine front cover.
Bottom left: Pike in chalk stream
near Arundel in West Sussex. The first dip into the water with my new camera housing yielded this image.
Bottom centre: Tango divers. Taken
in a local swimming pool to support the feature called â€œStrictly Come Divingâ€? this image is backlit by a slave strobe, giving the bubbles the extra sparkle.
Bottom right: Me in Te
Waikoropupu Springs, New Zealand. Taken by my then-9-yearold daughter, Emily. Diving is now banned in this spring.
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Featured photographer - Simon Brown
Top left: Royal Engineers diver. The water was filthy from the cutting tool and the diver had â€œwalkedâ€? through the silt to get to the workbench, dragging the umbilical behind him. I still wonder how I managed to photogrpah this subject in these conditions Top centre: Deck gun of the KT-12, Sardinia. After diving this wreck I found that the submarine that torpedeod the KT-12 was a known wreck in the English Channel, so I dived that too. Top right: VSW diver with mine. The team of Royal Navy Divers survey invasion beaches for mines. It took a lot of talking to secure access to this team. Centre left: The range finder on the SMS Koln, Scapa Flow. Centre right: Jewel anemone at Skellig Michael. Who says temperate seas lack colour & life? 20m plus of visiability in clear Atlantic water. Bottom left: Diver in the tile wreck, Abu Nuhas, Red Sea. Taken on my first visit to the Red Sea. Bottom centre: The Markgraf, Scapa Flow. At a depth of 44m the ISO button jammed down on my camera, leaving me no control of shutter speed, aperture or image preview. I was stuck with f4.5 and 1/20th. All I could do was bracket the ISO and compose ... all the camera could do was focus and flip the shutter. Bottom right: Wreck of the Torp, near Kristiansund, Norway. A great wreck in great visibility. Twice featured as a magazine cover.
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The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative We’ve mentioned SASSI in African Diver before and they have a wonderful website detailing their activities and providing useful information to the public. But we wondered how it all got started and what was behind the SASSI movement. In their words, here it is. Six years ago in Kwazulu-Natal, a questionnaire survey of seafood restaurants and retailers revealed some alarming trends in the linefish trade in that province. The questionnaire tried to fathom the level of awareness that seafood retailers had about marine conservation issues, the sections of the Marine Living Resource Act (MLRA) of 1998 relevant to them, and whether there were any species of particular concern being sold. The results showed a high level of ignorance concerning the MLRA with 77% of the retailers not being familiar with it and 92% of them contravening at least one aspect of the Act, mostly by buying from recreational fishers and offering “no-sale” species for sale. The news about species was no better with 15 no-sale species making an appearance on the species list, including specially protected species seventy-four and potato bass. Furthermore, the top 12 most popular fish in KZN included four overexploited species, and one prohibited species (Natal stumpnose). Hardly anyone was aware of the crisis that was announced in the South African linefishery in December 2000. This announcement came in the wake of recent revisions of linefish stock assessments that showed the majority of traditional linefish stocks to be far from healthy1. For example, out of the top 27 recreationally important species for which sufficient information were available 18 (or 67%) were classified as “collapsed”, one species was found to be “over-exploited”, four were considered “optimally-exploited”, and only two species were “under-exploited” 2. For commercial species it was no different with six out of the ten most important commercial species falling well below critical levels in the Western Cape region, where the bulk of national linefish catches are made3. These species included household favourites such as kabeljou (kob) and red roman.
SASSI has three major objectives:
The generally positive response from the majority of retailers to the questionnaire prompted Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to develop a Sustainable Seafood Initiative that would try to address these issues. Soon after this it was realised that there existed a real need at national level for such an initiative. This became reality with the appointment of a National Co-ordinator for the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) by the Marine Programme of WWF South Africa, with funding from The Green Trust, and in close collaboration with the Department Environment and Tourism, Branch: Marine and Coastal Management (MCM). Other participating partners are Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Two Oceans Aquarium, TRAFFIC, and more recently the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR).
1. Promote voluntary compliance with the MLRA 1998 through education and awareness. 2. Shift consumer demand away from over-exploited species to more sustainable options. 3. Create awareness on marine conservation issues.
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The first objective will be achieved by offering training courses to the staff of participating restaurants and retailers, to be presented by the various implementing partners. At this stage KZN is the furthest ahead with a course already developed and ready to go, while Two Oceans Aquarium awaits further guidance regarding course content, based on the results from questionnaire surveys that are being carried out at seafood restaurants and dealers in the Cape Town region. The emphasis is on nationally consistent course content based on accurate and credible information, but with local relevance. It is also intended to expand the surveys to Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces, and to find suitable partners there who could implement the training. The courses will mainly focus on the following topics: • • • • •
Legal aspects regarding dealing in seafood Seafood identification skills Conservation or stock status of different species Fishing methods and their impacts The biology and ecology of seafood species
The second and third objectives go hand-in-hand. By creating awareness on broad marine conservation matters, consumers will also be exposed to more specific issues. Here we can take a leaf from the book of similar international campaigns where the concept of mustering consumers to move the seafood industry towards better practices has been successfully applied in a number of countries, notably the United States, Australia and in Scandinavia. Typically the campaigns are formed through collaborations between NGOs, governments, environmental interest groups and aquaria. What they offer ranges from websites with information regarding fisheries related issues such as over-fishing, bycatch, habitat destruction and fishing methods, to detailed species databases. The most established campaign, Seafood Watch run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, offers regional wallet cards to consumers with colour coded species lists that can aid in their choices at restaurants and shops. This project has attracted strong buy-in from consumers, the hospitality industry and even the fishing industry. SASSI is slightly different in that it goes beyond harnessing consumer pressure, but also seeks to build the capacity of the seafood industry and to encourage it to move towards sustainable practices. This principle of sustainability has become a matter of priority for NGOs worldwide . The take-home message is that these types of projects do not seek to harm the industry but rather aim to ensure a steady and diverse seafood supply for decades to come, and to promote security throughout the seafood chain. For further information regarding SASSI, or for comments, please visit their site here.
Oceanographic Research Institute. 2000. Southern African Marine Linefish Status Reports. (Ed.) B.Q. Mann. Special Publication No. 7, 257 pp. Griffiths, M.H. & Lamberth, S.J. 2002. Evaluating the marine recreational fishery in South Africa. In: Recreational Fisheries: Ecological, economic and social evolution (Eds. T.J. Pitcher & C.E. Hollingworth): 227-251 2 Griffiths, M.H. 2000. Long-term trends in catch and effort of commercial linefish off South Africa’s Cape Province: Snapshots of the 20th Century. South African Journal of Marine Science 22: 81-110 2
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