Sportfishing photographer hooked on world’s oceans

Sportfishing photographer hooked on world’s oceans

By: AP

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Like many youngsters, Bill Boyce picked up a fishing rod and starting casting as a kid. But he got hooked on a passion for marine life and oceans unlike most others. Few venture to the world’s exotic coasts and dive into wild waters like Boyce, who brings back vivid photographs and videos that capture the energy of a leaping billfish and the dazzling, teeming world beneath the waves. Boyce, 52, said he likes to dive alone. “Too many divers in an area might scare fish away.” From his base near Los Angeles, Boyce said he spends about five months of the year probing waters for just the right sportfishing photo opportunity and shooting video for his TV program, “IGFA Angler’s Digest.” Boyce, who visited Mobile to help raise funds for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation, is an advocate of preserving the natural environment, on land as well as at sea. Retired Sea Lab Director George Crozier said Boyce’s photos of marine life generate support for protecting the oceans at the grassroots level. Boyce, who also backpacks into the wilderness taking scenic photos in Yosemite National Park or California’s gold mining country, said his guiding principle is to nourish the fragile ecosystem. “We tell people to photograph and release their catch,” he said. “The sport of fishing has been going on for thousands of years. The simple fact is that proper fisheries management of a sport fishery would never deplete it ecologically.” He’s among those warning of sea changes because of global warming. He contends that “the hard-core commercial pressure and overfishing of troubled stocks by an industry that sees fish only in ‘cubic dollar’ terms” is killing the oceans’ fish populations. “I do see myself as someone who is a protector of the seas,” said Boyce, who spent four years as a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Forest Service and later 12 years at Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Boyce describes his TV show as a travel and sport fishing program that takes the viewer to amazing international locations each week. “I do bring in my science background when explaining the species of fish we are targeting, and why each location is so productive for these fish,” he said. He has produced programs from waters off Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Fiji, the Bahamas and the Florida Everglades. Published in The Messenger 6.4.08

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