Rob Lower was a marine ornamental fish collector who specialized in finding and catching many rare Hawaiian endemic reef fish, many of which were only accessible by diving to the limits. Over the last few years Mr. Lower was one of the only collectors in Hawaii that would collect baby bandit angelfish, yellow fin anthias, goldenback triggerfish, and one of our personal favorites, the bloody hogfish, Bodianus sanguineus. More recently however Rob had turned his attention towards one of the holy grails of Hawaiian endemic reef fish, the god-like masked angelfish, Genicanthus personatus. Mr. Lower got information that there may be some masked angelfish accessible at diving depths in Kaua’i, about a hundred miles northwest of the usual fish stalking grounds of Oahu.
Less than a month ago we praised the successes of Rob’s first collecting trip to Kaua’i in obtaining the first legally collected masked angelfish in years. This past week Rob had been in Kaua’i on another collecting trip to catch this elusive and highly valuable marine ornamental fish. After what we can only assume was a very arduous diving schedule, yesterday Rob came up from his last deep dive with telltale signs of the Bends. Continue reading for a statement about what happened next.
“Robert was flown in from Kauai and was told he had to be in a recompression chamber because he had the bends and seizure. He stopped breathing in the chamber and they couldn’t resuscitate him after an hour.”
It is unknown at what depth range Rob was spending most of his time at but we are told he was using a rebreather diving system. Rob was known as a kind, caring guy who shared his passion with many rare fish collectors here in the U.S. Rob is survived by his wife and young daughter and the hundreds of rare fish that he caught and shipped to fish lovers all over the world. Thanks for the memories Rob Lower, you will be missed.