So I thought I would share this story with you all, as it is one of the best examples I can give anyone to show that one individual can make a difference!
So about a week and a half ago, I received a message on Facebook from Adam Parsons, a young diver living in the Shetland Islands, who was concerned about the extent of his local cuttlefish fishing industry and wanted to do something about it-
October 6- Adam Parsons
Hi i just wanted to tell u i am from the Shetland Islands and i just came home from byron bay to discover that the cod fishing fleets have started fishing for cuttlefish for japan and there is no limit to how much they can catch, what should i do and can u help me in any way?
My reply that day:
October 6- Nicole McLachlan
Hmm… well normally the best thing is to get as many people behind you as possible.
I’d say that you should write to your local paper (most newspapers publish opinion articles..) about it. Media is the best weapon against something like this, so even if you went to the fishing port where they offload their catch, if you can get some video or photo footage of the amount of cuttlefish they’re taking (maybe do some research to see if this type of fishing has negatively affected any local or nearby marine ecosystems [a.k.a wiped out local cuttlefish populations/changed the balance])
Then, once you have enough ‘evidence’ (photos, videos and info about what will happen to the local marine ecosystem and also the local fishing industry if the marine balance is impacted) you can go to news stations/newspapers.. anything you can to make a big deal of it… normally these days it takes something big to attract the attention of tv news, so if you can gather people who are also against the fishing and get as many people down to maybe the marina or a local government building (council or something) and do a big protest.. this will attract local media, and once enough people are behind your cause you can start hitting at the local MPs to do something about it…
If there’s enough opposition to what is happening to the local cuttlefish populations, you can change it!
I hope this has been of some help to you! Let me know if you need any more advice or if you have any questions or anything..
I look forward to hearing how it goes!
October 6- Adam Parsons
Thanks so much Nic ill give it a try but i know it will be hard and ill keep you posted.
Thanks so much, Adam
To my amazement, this is the ‘update’ I received only a short while ago!
About an Hour Ago- Adam Parsons
I just wanted to let u know that u really helped me out with the cuttle fish thing and now thanks to ur advice, In scotland they are no longer allowed to catch cuttle fish with trawler boats!
As soon as I read this, I was absolutely astounded and wanted to find out more; how did it happen, how did he manage to achieve such an amazing result so quickly!?
After getting in contact and a quick Skype call, Adam told me all about his efforts to save the cuttlefish in his area…
Being a keen scuba diver, Adam and his mates gained loads of footage of cuttlefish in their natural environment, capturing their beauty and amazing characteristics and behaviours- with this footage, they showed schools and many locals just how incredible these creatures are, and campaigned to educate the locals on exactly what is happening to the population of cuttlefish in their own backyards due to trawlers. Having contacts on other boats and fishing vessels, Adam was also able to show footage of just how many cuttlefish are being taken around the waters in the area. Using this method, the locals (and in particular, the kids in the local high schools) signed a petition that Adam and his friends set up, and once they gained enough signatures, they presented them to their local government. Adam tells me that the sudden passion that the locals had for cuttlefish was well received by the local MPs, and subsequently, they are now in the process of banning the taking of cuttlefish in the area (and Adam tells me that it could reach as far as the whole of Scotland!). Adam reports that between 60-70 trawling boats that used to hunt cuttlefish will no longer be taking them from the area!
My absolute favourite part of Adams’ campaign was his initiative in taking out some of the actual trawling boat captains for a few dives around the local dive sites. Here, the skippers of the boats that would once scoop up hundreds of these creatures at a time, were marvelling at the amazing animals in their natural surroundings… as nature intended it. Below is a photo taken by Adam on the dive- you can see two cuttlefish interacting, and one of the skippers looking on!
Adam and his friends had been working on the campaign for only a few weeks before he contacted me, and it has only been 10 days since… this just goes to show exactly how much only one passionate person can achieve if they are willing and determined. I want to say a big congratulations to Adam and his supportive friends for making the difference for his local marine ecosystem, and who knows, maybe someday soon all the cuttlefish in the waters surrounding Scotland will have Adam to thank for their freedom! 🙂 (I will keep you all posted!)
Want to make a difference to the marine environment????
PLEASE if you haven’t done so, send your personalised letter to the Australian government before October 21st telling them you want to stop sharks being taken legally from INSIDE the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage area… 600 tonnes of shark is taken each year LEGALLY. For more info and the template letter click on this LINK.
I will have more updates very soon on how the documentary and projects are going! In just over a week I will be travelling up to Mackay, QLD to talk at some local high schools on marine conservation and to get the students involved in my youth project. If you’d like to help me with the project, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please watch the video below which was sent to me by Michelle Ferguson, a teacher in Salt Lake City, USA who got her students involved in my project!
Thanks for the support guys, and please also ‘Like’ my New Facebook Page which enables more people to become updates on my progress! Share it with your friends to get them a little more educated on marine issues!
On the path to protect,