Friday, August 15, 2008

Spearfishing video clip - notes on Zebra

Today I write about zebras - another SASSI red-listed fish I take from time to time. Seems I am often in the red according to this SASSI system. I am not in full agreement with the SASSI information but I fully support the conservation of lifeforms in the ocean and would be very sad to see species being obliterated. Luckily zebra are not commonly taken by commercial fishing skiboats nor recreational skiboat fishermen. Even trawlers do not take many from what I know(may be wrong though).

Here is a video clip of me taking a zebra at Bushy Park, Port ELizabeth.


The Sassi system produces the following information from http://www.wwf.org.za/sassi/
Species Information
Other Names | Wildeperd
Biology | Slow growing, adults are extremely resident
Habitat | Inshore rocky reefs down to 60m
Distribution | Endemic, False Bay to Kosi Bay
Capture Methods | Recreational shore anglers and spearfishers
Conservation Notes
Recreational species only, this species is never abundant throughout its range. MPAs important for its conservation due to high residency

Now I simply have to say my bit on this one:
Adults extremely resident: I disagree - some times there are many zebras about and other times there are none at all - this does not sound like extreme residency to me. Some days one dives reefs and finds zebras scattered all over, caves or not. So much for "never abundant throughout its range". While diving you just get sick of seeing zebras all over. Other days you do not see any in the same areas. I would like to know who wrote extremely resident and on what they base this observation. How many extremely resident zebras did this person/s see under the water in their "residential real estate"!
It's written authoritatively so we believe it - well until we see otherwise. Just like the media, they can pick out a phase, disintegrate the context and you completely alter the meaning. e.g. I go diving on an ice cold day when the thermocline chases fish away. I take a video of the barren reefs and show proof. Well of course there are no fish! But I decide not to tell anyone about the effect of a themocline - next day after the water warms up I go out with ten mates and we can all get our quota of fish and leave plenty. See what I mean about context. So I will continue to recontextualize species with my perspective as I post in the future.

Perhaps zebras are semi-residential but they go for holidays to other places and may return from time to time. Rockcods are more residential - you got to the spot and see the same rock cod again and again.
In Spain the spearos also said their zebras move - come one day and certain reefs have none - next day there is a herd of them!

Let me know what your opinion is - we as spearos have done many hours underwater in the areas where fish actually are and perhaps more light can be shed on their habits to allow our knowledge base evolve.

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