Yellow tangs discarded in a Kona dumpster.
The aquarium trade serves a dark hobby, confining coral reef wildlife and destroying reefs around the world. Stripping reefs for an amusement industry is theoretically no different than capturing cetaceans for commercial shows. 98% of aquarium fish are wild caught. Many people may not reflect on the colorful fish in glass tanks used as furnishings for offices, bistros, waiting rooms, or homes—and some people may assume those fish are bred in captivity. The fact is that 2% of those fish are captive-bred and 98% are taken from the wild. read more
He ripped away her breathing device, fifty feet down.
Wildlife officers said aquarium collector Jay Lovell will be charged with reckless endangerment, along with Lovell’s complaint for harassment.
Below: see complete attack video. Note: attacker holding on tightly to his precious catch of yellow tangs as he approaches for attack.
The diver, a PADI certified dive instructor with 10,000 scuba dives in Hawaii, is an aquarium-ban activist. She said, “I was careful to stay clear of his working area, about 30 feet away. He saw me and snapped, darting full speed. The video shows his face as he attacked me. He hit my nose and ripped my regulator from my mouth, leaving me 50 feet down with no air. With any less training or experience I would have drowned.”
It was a holo holo outing to document Kona reef conditions. Participants included dedicated individuals and organizations from For The Fishes, The Snorkel Bob Foundation, Ocean Pursuits, and The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Robert Wintner aka Snorkel Bob said, “I went to take pictures of fish. It’s what I do. The attack was a violent reaction to a reef visitor with a camera. How many places sell or rent cameras to divers and snorkelers? The reef at Keawaiki is designated OPEN. It’s part of Hawaii’s public trust and not a private reserve for aquarium collectors who demand that nobody watch them.”
Mike Long said, “We went to document effects of coastal pollution and the aquarium trade on reef species and habitat along the Kona Coast, and we did. Mr. Lovell’s complaint may have been predictable, but the video of this attack reveals a far darker side of the situation.”