Snorkel Bob’s Reef Etiquette
by Snorkel Bob, Himself
NOTE: These directives are not meant as safety tips but rather as rules to live by in these difficult times of critical mass. See Snorkel Bob’s Snorkel Safety Tips for specific rules on water safety.
1) Don’t touch coral with your fingers, elbows, knees, butt or fins. Each tiny polyp is a delicate animal too fragile for human touching.
2) Don’t stand or walk on coral. Adjust your mask strap before entering the water. Be aware of your fins at all times. If you can’t move without kicking coral, you shouldn’t be there.
3) Picking up trash is nice. Picking up plastic is critical. Most sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish. Some try to eat them and choke.
4) Remove monofilament line and net from the beach and water. Turtles and others get tangled and drown. Snorkel reefs are often fished. If you see snagged monofilament line, pull it out gently, put it in your pocket and carry it to a trash can.
5) Do not feed fish or any marine life. This disrupts the natural marine balance, teaching the ocean critters to beg rather than fill their natural roles. NOTE: Every dive/snorkel shop in Hawaii knows about #5. Some still sell fishfood. Boycott those places, and tell them the error of their ways.
6) Do not use sunscreen in the water. It washes off and kills coral polyps. Consider a Sunblock T (or sleeveless) for upper-body UV protection and a swim cap for scalp UV protection.
7) Do not touch or pursue sea turtles. Hawaii turtles are returning after decades of killing. Human contact may alter normal turtle behavior & compromise wariness. We still have poachers. NOTE: Pursuing or touching a turtle may lead to citation, court appearance, fine and/or custody.
8) Blow the whistle. If you see someone maiming fish, riding or touching turtles or fishing in a preserve, call NOAA Fisheries Enforcement at (808) 725-6100.
9) Many green sea turtles show the fibropapilloma (FP) virus with white tumors, usually on the eyes, mouth or flippers. Do not come into contact. Report dead, sick or stranded turtles to NOAA at (808) 725-5730.
10) Don’t buy coral or seashells. All perfect shells were taken live, killed for human amusement. Please advise seashell vendors to stop. AVOID freeze-dried puffer fish or sea horses. This crime against nature cannot continue.
11) Love our reefs. Regular snorkeling teaches reef health and fish count. Watch for brown or green algae or indications of pollution. Report deterioration to any Snorkel Bob’s in Hawaii or to www.snorkelbob.com .
12) If you see an aquarium in a waiting room, office or restaurant, have a chat with management. Ask friends with home aquariums not to replace the fish in their tanks.
13) Report any act of reef defense, down to assistance of a single, gill-breathing individual, to The Snorkel Bob Foundation at www.snorkelbob.com .
14) Don’t eat turtles, even if it was your heritage. The FP virus in many Hawaii turtles may be linked to human std (sexually transmitted disease). Eating turtle may infect you for life. KILLING A SEA TURTLE IS PUNISHABLE BY A $25,000 FINE & A PRISON TERM, but hardly more than a year or 2.
15) Don’t eat reef fish. Many toxins are karmically transmitted, including the ciguatera neurotoxin that inhibits a pulmonary enzyme in humans, causing death by asphyxiation, but not right away. It takes a while, and it itches. Have a nice day. I mean, really. Who but the ogre under the bridge could see a little yellow tang, a wrasse or damsel or angel and think of bread crumbs or a light meuniere sauce?
16) Assume stewardship of the reefs. All humans on Planet E can claim a cultural heritage to our reef. Each reef is a community, with social order, home boundaries & family groups. Spearguns should not be used among snorkelers. If you feel threatened, call 911. Slurpguns are not allowed on most reefs. Slurpgun harvesting supports the retail pet industry. It deprives individuals of their God-given right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Slurpgunning is not sustainable & on most reefs not allowed. Report slurpgun violations to NOAA Fisheries Enforcement on Oahu (808) 725-6100. All reefs are one reef. All reefs are under extreme pressure from humans. Help save our reef.
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