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FAQs about Fishes of the Cook Islands

Related Articles: Pet-Fishing in the Cooks,

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Visiting the Cooks Hi- <Hello John> I will be visiting the Cook Islands in late January and was just wondering if any of you know if I am permitted to take any fish/inverts (not hard corals obviously - no CITES permit ;)) back with me.  I have brought various hermits, cucumbers, brittle stars etc.... back from Hawaii when I have visited there.  Is it possible to do the same from the Cooks?  Also, is there still an export business there?  Are they amiable to visitors.  Appreciate you help!  Thanks, <I suggest you meet up with the only collector there, Chip Boyle (and wife Claire) while in Roratonga (they're listed) and ask their help in holding, and possibly either bagging, boxing what you collect or make arrangements with them to ship you your catch a few days after your return. Bob Fenner> John B

Cook Islands diving & collecting Dear Bob, I am a member of the M.A.R.S. group in Sacramento, and I spoke with you briefly about my wife and I taking a trip to the Cook's on the 20th of August. We both became PADI certified this last month and are planning several dives while in the Cook's. You mentioned a friend of yours which collects and exports fish from Roratonga and I was interested in checking out his facility and possibly doing a collecting dive with him. <Chip Boyle and his wife Alice... on Roratonga. Where he dives is not what you may think... very deep, on tri-mix. You want to stay in scuba depth range... Are you going to Aitutaki, other islands?> If you could forward me a phone number, name or address I'd like to contact him. Thanks again for all your help. <I will cc them here and see if they'll respond. They're friendly. Bob Fenner... Actually, just looked on my email directories and phone books, and I've lost their contact info. Looked on the net with Google, and they have listings for the dive services (Have used Cook Island Divers a bunch). Please contact the dive services there (it's a very small community... a total of a few tens of thousands make up the entire citizenry, more than half live elsewhere... Make it known if you still don't have success, and I'll contact Chris Bruenner at Quality Marine now and ask him for the email addy... sheesh, am lucky my head is attached.> Sincerely, Rich VanDusen

Diving with Chip Boyle Hey Bob, <Hi Rich> Rich VanDusen here from M.A.R.S. here.  My wife and I just returned from yet another trip to Rarotonga, and while we were there we took your advice and gave Chip a call.  He was the coolest guy you'd ever want to drink a beer with.  He invited us to tour his holding facilities and even take some video of his fish tanks and filtration equipment. <He and Claire are very fine people>   I was beside myself when he invited Jeni and I to go diving with two of his collectors, and video how they catch and transport the fish.  It was our first dives using Nitrox, but Chip graciously provided us 9 tanks of 36% O2 for free.  We were also able to check out the oxygen plant up the hill, and hear the whole story behind why he's the sole proprietor of O2 on the island.  We went out to dinner with him and Claire at Trader Jack's, but after almost 3 days of hanging out, I've found that I don't have a good picture of Chip or his wife. <Thank goodness for their operation. They provide medical oxygen in the Cooks...>   I've shot nearly an hour and a half of above and underwater video and I'm in the process of editing that footage into a DVD for our club on the collecting of aquarium fish.  If you could provide me with a picture or two to insert into my movie, I'd certainly owe you a six-pack the next time you're in Sacramento. <I'll have to look through my slides>   After posting my adventures in the SCUBA forum on Reef Central, I've had several requests from other fish clubs for copies of the DVD when I'm finished.  I may also try to upload a version on our club website for on-line viewing.   Thank you for your time, and I'm sure you'll be in Sac to give yet another presentation before year's end. <Real good. Will check tomorrow. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Rich VanDusen
President: Marine Aquarist Roundtable of Sacramento

Thanks for the pics Bob, Thank you for your prompt response to my picture request.  Those shots of Chip will work nicely in my video.  He and his two collectors from Sri Lanka, as well as a couple o fish clubs on Reef Central have requested copies of the DVD when I'm finished editing.  I'll be sure to send a copy your way as well. Thanks again, Rich VanDusen <Real good. Glad they'll work. Hope to be seeing/diving with you soon. Bob Fenner>

Hello Bob (Looking for Chip and Alice Boyle in Roratonga) Bob: I enjoyed reading your articles on marine fishes very much. Especially the articles on Flame Angels. I have read your comments on Chip and Claire Boyle at the Cook Islands. How can I contact them? Do you have either an email address, mailing address, or website address for them? <I will send your note on and ask that they respond if so desired. I/we don't issue other peoples addresses w/o their express consent. Bob Fenner> Many thanks Paul Lum

What do you think? (Flame Angel, Cooks, Chip) Hi Mr. Fenner Once again i write you for your opinion. I read in your FAQs about flame angels, not being great from the Christmas islands, and Marshall islands in the last little while. But what about the Cook islands, My LFS had three, and now has one left from there at the moment. It's been at the store now for about three weeks, and is in great shape, and active.  <A great source location... only one source there... Chip and Claire Boyle... very qualified collectors, shippers... excellent quality> I 've stopped by a few times to see how the little guy is doing, and he's always been very active, in great looking shape, and very attentive to his surroundings. I, like you, am in love with this particular fish, and want one a lot, but I'm worried because I've had one once before, and he didn't last more than two weeks after i got him home. (Got a very bad case of Ick, and didn't quite pull through the treatment), So I've been hesitant, and just keeping an eye on this guy for a little while. I've gone over all of what you've written on your site about the upkeep of these little beauties, and can't really think of anything i did wrong with the last guy. I'm hesitant because they aren't the cheapest, and also, and most important, i don't want to be the cause of his demise. But as i said, i think they are just gorgeous little fishes, and would really like to have one. <I would buy a C. loricula from the Cooks w/o worry. Bob Fenner>

Roratonga Tickets Hi Bob, I am Rick Turkiewicz from Phoenix, AZ. I was so impressed with your presentation I talked my wife into going in 2002. What I need is some help with the tickets. I am not asking you to purchase them, just some referrals to where you get tickets. Every time I try to contact travel companies I never receive a reply. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Rick. <Hmm, glad to help... Think Diana (wife) will know more that is useful to both of us (she generally arranges these affairs... otherwise, am going to ask my friend Peter who travels a great deal on these routes to speak up... and I'll record all's input on the new travel section on WetWebMedia. I fly on Air New Zealand there... I'll finally open up the "Dive/Adventure Travel" section (sub-web) of WWM to start posting these materials... Thanks for asking. Bob Fenner>


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