Robert Wintner, AKA Snorkel Bob, makes the claim that the aquarium trade jeopordizes visual treasures of the reefs in his 284 page book, Neptune Speaks, Skyhorse Publishing, 2012. The book contains more than 500 color photographs of saltwater tropical fish and Snorkel Bob’s belief that the extraction of exotic satltwater tropical fish from their habitat by the aquarium and the restaurant trades are depleting one of earth’s visual treasures.
The photographs alone make this book a welcome addition to any home and a value at its cover price of $30.00. The price also includes a DVD where Snorkel Bob shares his concern and passion about the need to protect “The fragile beauty of Tropical Fish so that our children can enjoy, them too.”
Wintner unabashedly makes his living from the seas. He owns dive shops and sells Snorkel Bob branded dive gear. He is also the founder of the Snorkel Bob Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reef defense. The difference between Wintner and those who rape the reefs in the unrestrained taking of its wildlife and beauty, is that his livelihood is a result of sharing the beauty of reefs with his fellow humans; not ripping their salwater tropical fish from their environments to spend their lives in the confines of aquariums.
The book is like Wintner, it is colorful in both appearance and language. “Neptune Speaks to the peril of trafficking in wildlife for the pet trade.” It asks “Why are colorful reef fish still taken in Hawaii with no limit on the catch, no limit on the number of catchers, and no constraint on rare, endemic or or vanishing species?”
Wintner answers the questions he poses by saying, “Because the trade makes big money-and spends it on “conservation “ organizations who green wash the trade.” He then asks the question environmentalists around the world ask, “How can vested interests determine what’s best for the wilderness.”
This writer gives Neptune Speaks four stars. Anyone who enjoys the endless variety of the tropical inhabitants of ocean reef environments will find the 540 color pictures and the accompanying copy a welcome escape from their land based confines.
If you have someone in your family, or a friend who scuba dives, loves the ocean, or is an environmentally concerned individual Neptune Speaks will make a great holiday gift. The harcover edition can be purchased at Amazon for $22.80 and the Kindle edition for $7.99.