What comes to mind when you think about fish?

When you ask someone to think about fish what do you think first comes to their mind?  Unless that person is a scuba diver most likely they will think of:

  • A slimy, smelly, dead thing on a fish mongers display
  • A delicious meal, bread crumbed or baked, sushi or sashimi
  • Something small and gold that lives in a bowl

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What Scuba Divers think

When you ask a scuba diver, be prepared for a lengthy conversation about the, biggest, smallest, fastest, most rare and so on.  So why are so many scuba divers fascinated with their water dwelling buddies.

Let me explain: Most people are still quite nervous when they first learn how to scuba dive and so are pre occupied with checking their air gauge, staying close to their buddy and controlling their buoyancy.

Now don’t get us wrong these are good traits that should never be neglected even when you become an experienced diver, but once you start to become more relaxed, get to know your air consumption rate and control becomes second nature, this is when the real fun begins!

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Now you really start to notice the variety of life and the complexities of this huge eco system that surrounds you! You realise that what you knew as slimy dead things or food are in fact mostly social, vibrant and even charismatic creatures with a busy daily schedule.

Like most creatures, fish spend most of their time looking for food, finding and then defending their territory and looking for a mate, but along the way they forge friendships, build temporary alliances and compete against sworn enemies.

As a scuba diver you have a front row seat to the whole extraordinary show.  I like to imagine the coral reef as a large underwater metropolis, with its inhabitants, the city dwellers going about their daily slog, while for once I get to just relax, stress free and watch it all pan out.

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So for me my fascination comes from, having spent a large part of my life picturing fish as a dead animal or food source only, finding them generally unattractive to look at (as you would also be if you had been dragged around on a line or snagged in a net, suffocated, disemboweled and then lay dead on ice for a few hours) and presuming they were stupid. To seeing that the complete opposite is true.

Is this the same for other divers? I don’t know! All I know is that the underwater world and its inhabitants are enchanting and as the great man himself said…


“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”
Jacques Cousteau


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I am not saying that you should not eat fish, in fact it is believed about one billion people world-wide rely on fish as their primary source of protein, I am just saying that it is not fair to think of them as nothing more than a stupid expendable food source.

Come and meet them for yourself by signing up for a scuba diving course or a leisure dive package and learn to identify them with the PADI Fish identification specialty course: contact [email protected]  for more details and check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/orcascuba/  for loads more about marine life and how to protect our oceans.