Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Diving Almanac & Book of Records is now online!

Congratulations to Jeffery Gallant and his team!! The 2010 Diving Almanac & Book of Records is now online!!! Five years of hard work, 3000 articles, 484 diving records, 596 diving personalities, and much more updated on a daily basis. Best of all, it's absolutely FREE! Be among the first to sign up at....

A River Runs Through It - British Columbia's Salmon Fishery's Decade of Decline

I just came across this news item from that appeared in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. The 10 year stats ominously detail how the Fraser River’s fish stocks have plummeted. Here’s a gloomy snapshot of the precarious state of British Columbia’s salmon fishery.

The Globe and Mail
December 25, 2009

In 10 years, the Fraser River’s fish stocks have plummeted. A look at the precarious state of the salmon fishery. In the early 1990s, about 24 million sockeye a year swam up the Fraser, suggesting the river might return to the 40 million it saw a century ago. It wasn’t to be.

1999 – More than eight million sockeye are expected but only three million reach the Fraser, the lowest figure since 1955.

2000 – About five million salmon return but fisherman take nearly half, plus the Weaver Creek and Cultus Lake stocks are nearly wiped out because the fish die before spawning, likely due to overly warm water.

2001 – Officials worry when fish travel upstream as many as 47 days early, and widespread fishery closures are imposed but not before 1.6 million salmon are taken. The overall run: 7 million.

2002 – More than 15 million sockeye show up (and about four million are caught), but some Fraser runs are very weak.

2003 – With the Fraser hitting temperatures over 19 degrees, the sockeye delay entering the river. The total run is only 4.8 million with just over 2 million caught.

2004 – Again about four million fish return but only 1.7 million live to spawn, 77 per cent below what biologists feel is needed to rebuild the stocks. Water temperatures set a record, and an abundance of sea lice is noted on young salmon migrating through the Broughton Archipelago.

2005 – With 12 million forecast, the run reaches just seven million sockeye, of which 3.3 million escape to spawn – half of what biologists had hoped for.

2006 – Just over half of the 17 million sockeye forecast show up, but fishing is allowed and the number of spawners is more than a million below target. The Sierra Club reports 38 sockeye runs as endangered, and Stephen Harper writes to the Calgary Herald: “In the coming months, we will strike a judicial inquiry into the collapse of the Fraser River salmon fishery.” Commercial fishers and the Stó:lô Tribal Council object, and the Prime Minister doesn’t follow through.

2007 – Broad fishing closures are imposed when only 1.4 million sockeye return to the Fraser.

2008 – Commercial fisheries are closed (after a harvest of 500,000) when estimates show another poor return, just 1.6 million. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature puts Pacific sockeye on its “red list” of threatened species, and scientists report that young fish in the Fraser are being infested with sea lice as they migrate north.

2009 – Between 11 and 13 million fish are expected, but just 1.3 million arrive, the least since 1941. The agency created by Premier Gordon Campbell in 2004 to examine potential conflicts between wild and farmed salmon runs out of money and closes. Researchers report catching Fraser sockeye near fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, raising more concerns about sea lice infestation. Mr. Harper presses ahead with his judicial inquiry. “We are very concerned,” he says, “about the low and falling returns of sockeye salmon in British Columbia.”

"The Salish Sea" - It's now Official!

("The Salish Sea Map, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009")

In late 2009, naming boards in both Canada and the U.S.A. granted approval to use the name, “Salish Sea” for a body of water that extends from the north end of the Strait of Georgia and Desolation Sound to the west end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and south to the southern extent of the Puget Sound including the inland marine waters of southern British Columbia, Canada and northern Washington, USA. These separately named bodies of water form a single estuarine ecosystem. The new name for these waters has been embraced by citizens on both sides of the border, including the Coast Salish Gathering (the alliance of Coast Salish Tribal and First Nations leaders).

Salish Sea is not a historical term for the inland waters of British Columbia and Washington State. Marine biologist Bert Webber proposed it in 1988. Dr. Webber recognized the need for a single geographic term that encompassed the entire ecosystem, spanning across the international border. Having a name to identify the entire area calls attention to the trans-border commonality of water, air, wildlife and history. Rather than being a replacement for any of the existing names, the designation Salish Sea is an overlay that includes and unites the established and familiar names of the various water and land bodies (the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, etc.). The name also pays tribute to the Coast Salish peoples who have inhabited the area since long before Euro-American explorers first arrived.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


"It is of interest to note that while some dolphins are reported to have
 learned English ~ up to fifty words used in correct context ~
no human being has been 
reported to have learned dolphinese…"

Carl Sagan

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UASBC Guest Speaker Poster January 27, 2010

Making History! - with Scuba Diver Australasia Magazine

In their December 2009 issue
, Scuba Diver Australasia Magazine published a six page spread of my story, "Tropical Splendour in a Cold Sea."
Scuba Diver Australasia is a scuba magazine dedicated to the underwater world and is the official publication of the PADI Diving Society in the Asia Pacific.

The Editor wrote in his editorial...

“We are making history in this issue! For the first time, Scuba Diver Australasia takes you outside our usual boundaries, going further in our Beyond column than ever before - all the way to Canada! Jett Britnell introduces us to cold-water diving in British Columbia, one of the most highly regarded dive regions in the world.”
Diego A. Garcia
Scuba Diver Australasia Magazine

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some Inspiring Underwater Photography Quotes

Here are some of my favorite quotes about the art of making underwater pictures from some acknowledged masters of their craft.

“Just pushing a button is taking a photo. Thinking, lighting, and lots of other things~
that's making a photo.” - David Doubilet

“You must be a fish among fishes to study their surroundings and their life.” - Hans & Lotte Hass

“Amateurs talk about equipment. Professionals talk about photos.” - Unknown

“Our goal is to capture seldom-seen behavior on film. And the trick to that is to simply spend huge amounts of time underwater.” - Howard & Michelle Hall

“The other blokes spent their money on girls and cars and beer. I spent my money on cameras and lenses.” - Ron & Valerie Taylor

“The true hero of the digital age is the instant image review possible with the LCD screen.The LCD screen allows photographers to correct and perfect their technique underwater. I am not convinced it helps composition, but it certainly improves the technical aspects of lighting. Put simply, there has never been a better education aid for underwater photographers to refine their technique.” - Dr. Alex Mustard

“The key to underwater photography is mixing light: ambient and strobe. Mixing it the way you want. This is art.” - Kurt Amsler

“Every day is not just another assignment; it is a small, but contained voyage of discovery.” - David Doubilet

“Getting close safely. I call it "Predictive Previsualization". Seeing in your mind's eye how the shot should look, setting all camera and strobe controls for what they should be when the shark gets close enough, and having the presence of mind to trip the shutter once the shark enters the shoot zone.” - Steven Frink

“Spend your time studying the light, not the specifications of the latest camera!” - Dr. Alex Mustard

“There is a fine line between creating shadows and creating depth and perspective. If you are too uneven with your lighting you get harsh shadows that deteriorate the photo, unless you are using that as an effect.” - Espen Rekdal

“Go and play, set dives aside to be wild, free and silly. So much of what I have found that works has come from mad ideas!” - Martin Edge

“Photography is about how you look and how you dream and how you see and what your interests are.” - David Doubilet

“Just pay attention to the light wherever you are. Light is the basic of photography. In 1839, Daguerre and Niépce had to use light and we still use light. Even with digital, without light there is nothing. Once the photographer understands light, their pictures will look different.” - Kurt Amsler

“People don’t realize how important models are. Even in all the shots they are not in, they are looking for subjects while you are taking pictures.” - Carlos Villoch

“I really believe that creative lighting remains an area of great potential for expansion in underwater photography. If you want to differentiate you work and really make it stand out, there is a lot to do in this area.” - Dr. Alex Mustard

“I think diver pictures are the most boring and redundant photographs on the face of the earth. I hate to say it as I fear it might insult a lot of people. It’s just my personal feeling; what fascinates me about the ocean is the marine life, not divers.” - Chris Newbert

“Never underestimate your capacity for doing something really stupid.” - Howard & Michelle Hall

“Il faut aller voir (We must go and see).” - Jacques Cousteau

And lastly, a quote from renowned landscape photographer, Ansel Adams, that equally applies to the art of underwater photography...

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.” - Ansel Adams

"Most photos are worth a thousand words.  Underwater ones are worth at least a million." - Stephen Frink

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Publishing Hat Trick!

What a wonderful way to start the year 2010!

Depth Magazine, an online internet scuba publication, has just published one of my images as a cover shot along with two of my stories, "Fiji's Soft Coral Kingdom" and "Where The Wild Things Are - Queen Charlotte Strait's Ocean Frontier" in their January 2010 issue. This also marks the second time that one of my own ads was published. I also received some high praise...

"Anyway you cut it, your stories are all first rate, and anything you send would be awesome!"
Doug Smith
President / Editor
DEPTH Magazine

Here is a link to the online magazine. Sign up for free to view:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Speaking Engagement - UASBC Underwater Exploration Series 2010

I have been invited to speak once again at the UASBC Underwater Exploration Series on January 27, 2010. The Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia (UASBC) presents an Underwater Exploration Speaker Series each year. Regular meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month (except July and August) at 7:30pm at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, 1905 Ogden Avenue in Vancouver. Everyone is welcome and there is no cost.

This marks the third time I will be a guest speaker for this UASBC event. The topic of my presentation this year will be “Raptures of the Deep ~ The Aquatic Adventures of a Diving Photojournalist”, featuring some of my favorite images from various editorial assignments.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

"At the dawn of this new decade, may your right hand during the coming year always be stretched out in friendship ...and never in want."