Cenderawasih Bay divers were arrested
Welcome to post one of Mermaid Musings! Where you get to hear my personal thoughts and opinions on random dive/ocean stuff and happenings. To kick things off we’re going to start with a video that went viral this month and I’m gonna give you all the juicy deets. Let’s dive in and find out why these divers were arrested.
Earlier this month a video started circulating of several divers fin riding a whale shark a young whale shark. In the video it is very clear that the animal is stressed and struggling under the added weight. People everywhere were very upset seeing this endangered species being so abused, and rightly so. Luckily the authorities were on our side and several of the Cenderawasih divers were arrested.
Divers Stupidly Riding Whaleshark
Horrendous Video showing divers riding an endangered whale shark in Indonesia. The juvenile whale shark appears to be in distress under the weight of divers as it tries to feed on plankton.We belive this the divers’ actions represent animal cruelty and all involved should be severerly reprimanded.Whale sharks, the planet’s largest fish species, are docile filter feeders often referred to as gentle giants. Proper dive etiquette is to observe and avoid contact.#animalcruelty #whaleshark #ocean #marinelife #respectwildlife #protectouroceans #scubadivingresource #scuba #dive #divetravelPosted by Scuba Diving Resource on Thursday, 16 August 2018
When I saw this video It made my heart hurt. Part of me wanted to cry for that young whale shark seeing him desperately trying to free itself from the clutches of those people. While the other half of me was absolutely livid with the divers riding him. Each of them smiling and posing for the camera like animal abuse is so cool.
It’s just so wrong
Truly, there are so many things wrong with this video! I wish I could say that these people had no idea what was going on but as far as we’ve been told these guys were fully aware of their heinous crime. This makes it all so much worse, and I’m going to go through all the reasons why.
My List of Wrongs
- Look at that Whale Shark! The animal is so distressed! its struggling to swim, its trying to get them off of him and nothing is working!
- There are so many riders! Way to many people are hitching a ride on that animal it’s obviously pushing him down deeper into the water.
- It is an Endangered Species! The whale shark is an endangered species world wide, and is protected by the United Nations through their CITES program, the ICUN redlist and many others.
- This animal is just a baby. Despite the size of the shark this guy quite young. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean reaching up to 12m (40ft) in length. This whale shark isn’t all that much bigger than those divers making it an adolescent. In fact, it hasn’t even reached sexual maturity yet.
- What the hell is the divemaster doing? This dive was guided by a dive professional, and generally, divers are told not to harass marine animals. it is the guides jobto enforce these rules. I know that if any of my divers were behaving in this matter I would be actively removing them from the shark. I would also be ending the dive right then and there.
- Fin riding is dangerous. I don’t care how fun it is, fin riding is very dangerous and can easily result in death or severe injury. Especially if you don’t know what you are doing.
- The animal could get hurt. Not only is this whale shark stressed to the nines, it could be seriously injured. Most sharks, including the whale shark, need to continuously move forward to breath. This is because they take oxygen from the water that passes over their gills. Moving backwards through the water can actually cause the animal to drown. In the video we can observe the whale shark attempting to swim upwards,but is pushed back down by the weight of the divers. In these moments the water is moving backwards over the gills, potentially harming the poor thing.
To be honest with you I could keep going on all day but let’s leave it there for now. These are the 7 most important faults. How this was allowed to happen is beyond me. At the very least it helps to know the divers were arrested.
Apparently they were told no touchy
Sometime after the video was released the dive company Sea Safari Cruises was found to be the dive operator. A local environmentalist group, Bird’s Head Seascape, confronted the cruise line about the incident. Read their reply yourself below.
As a a dive professional I can certainly affirm there are divers who don’t listen to the rules about animal interaction. However, I can also say that it is our job to intervene when such behavior is exhibited. In addition to this, after reading some of the tripadvisor reviews for this company I am left questioning the honesty of their statement. I was dismayed to find several reviews indicating that divemasters were mishandling marine animals and plants, including blatant damage of coral reefs.
Cenderawasih Divers Were Arrested
We have to thank Rocker Kaka Slank and his twitter post regarding the incident for getting the ball rolling. After he tagged minister of marine affairs and fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti and Minister of Indonesia’s environment and forestry Siti Nurbaya investigations began. Immediately after, The Dive Professional also began assisting with finding the divers in question and filing reports to the appropriate dive institutions. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved four of the divers in the video have been arrested.
After reports of arrests had been confirmed many people were celebrating. Yet, there were still a few saying that arresting the divers was a bit much. I even read some comments saying they should only receive a slap on the wrist. In my opinion, a slap on the wrist for the abusing and traumatizing a critically endangered species that is protected worldwide is not a sufficient punishment.
The Incident Report
Once authorities were made aware it didn’t take long for before the divers were arrested, especially with the help of social media involvement. It turned out that the primary diver in yellow was indeed the dive guide. The others being clients from his group. This means that Sea Safaris outright lied in their release when they stated that their professionals were not involved and tried to stop the divers. I am lead to believe that rather, he was the one that initiated the behavior.
On the 14th of August it was reported that 4 of the divers were arrested. We have yet to hear of their sentencing. Recommendations have been made and speculated by The Dive Professional that seem fair but it is hard to say exactly what will come of this incident. Especially when so many people are requesting that licenses be completely revoked.
What do you think should happen to these people?
Do you have an opinion you would like to share regarding the video?
Let’s hear you thoughts! Leave a comment
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