I’ve been a certified open-water diver for more than a month now, but I can already attest that it is absolutely a different world down there. It is exhilarating to observe marine creatures in their natural environment, and some of what I’ve seen is simply fascinating, such as when a tiger fish once sent us a warning during one of our dives near her nest. In fact, even if the scenes were more or less the same as what we can see in National Geographic and Discovery Channel shows, being down there yourself and experiencing it firsthand is incomparable.
As enchanting as it is underwater, after several dives I can’t help but become saddened by the fact that human intervention can cause damage as deep as the bottom of the ocean. In the Philippines, although we are blessed with an abundance of marine life, people do not seem to understand how precious underwater life is. Every time I go deeper, all I see are remnants of the beauty that was.
Fishers catch reef fish, such as the popular clown fish and angel fish, for people to put in their aquariums. They take coral and sell it, painted in different colors and styles. I’ve also seen a lot of trash, particularly plastic bags, underwater. What breaks my heart the most is seeing healthy coral reefs without any fish among them!
Marine creatures get little respect from humans because they’re not as easy to relate to as, say, the cats and dogs we share our homes with.
But soon, there will be no reason to dive—all the fish and coral will be gone. We never realize how important something is until it’s gone.
Marine animals belong in the ocean, not on our plates or in aquariums. You can help these animals by not buying fish and coral from shops and not eating fish and crustaceans.
Posted by former intern Katrina Pontanar