Snorkel Bob's Reef Etiquette

By Snorkel Bob

All reefs are under extreme pressure from humans. Help save our reefs.

1.) Don’t touch coral with your fingers, elbows, knees, butt or fins. Each tiny polyp is a delicate animal too fragile for human touch.

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. Sea turtles see plastic bags as jellyfish. Some try to eat them & choke.

4.) Remove monofilament line & net from
the beach & water. Turtles & others get tangled & drown. Snorkel reefs may be fished. If you see snagged monofilament line, pull it out gently, put it in your pocket & carry it to a trash can.

5.) Feeding fish or any marine life disrupts the natural balance, making the ocean critters co-dependant, so don t do it. Every dive & snorkel shop in Hawaii knows #5. Some still sell fishfood. Boycott those places, & tell them the error of their ways.

6.) Sunscreen kills coral polyps. Use a Sunblock T (or sleeveless) for upper-body UV protection & a swim cap for scalp UV protection.

7.) Don’t pursue sea turtles. Hawaii turtles are returning after decades of killing. Humancontact may alter normal turtle behavior & compromise wariness. NOTE: Pursuing or touching a turtle may lead to citation, court appearance, fine & custody.

8.) Blow the whistle. Maiming fish, touching turtles or fishing in a preserve should be reported to the Division of Conservation & Re-sources Enforcement (Docare), 984-8110. Nights & weekends dial the operator & ask for Enterprise 5469.

9.) Many green sea turtles show the fibropa-pilloma (FP) virus with white tumors on the eyes, mouth or flippers. Don’t touch.

10.) Don’t buy coral or shells — they were taken live, killed for novelty. Advise shellvendors to STOP! AVOID freeze-dried puffers & seahorses. This crime against nature cannot continue. Those who sense the strain on marine resources can also refuse the shell lei common to most luaus — comments to luau management may help. But who the hell knows in these days of TV reality?


11.) Love a reef. Regular snorkeling teaches reef health & fish count. Watch for algae bloom & pollution. Report deterioration to any Snorkel Bob’s in Hawaii or

12.) Saltwater aquarists should get a new hobby. Short of that, buy only captive-bred fish. Mortality rates in shipment are gross—fish collectors are decimating our reefs.

13.) Report any act of reef defense, down to assistance of a single, gill-breathing individual, to

14.) Don’t eat reef fish. Toxins are karmically transmitted, including the ciguatera neurotoxin that inhibits a pulmonary enzyme in humans, causing slow death by asphyxiation, & it itches. Have a nice day. I mean, really. Only the ogre under the bridge would see a little yellow tang, a wrasse or damsel & think of breadcrumbs & a light meuniere sauce.

15.) Assume stewardship. All humans have a cultural heritage to the reef, with its social order & family groups. Spearguns are for deep water only. If you feel threatened, call 911. Slurpguns are not allowed on most reefs. Fish collecting for the retail pet industry denies individuals their God-given right to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Fish collecting is not sustainable & on most reefs not allowed. Report all violations to the Division of Conservation & Resources Enforcement (Docare), 984-8117. Nights & weekends dial 0 & ask for Enterprise 5469