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The Ocean: A Precious Resource

Posted by Silverback on 06 November 2007 at 12:54 PM

Unite to protect your sport

Spearfishers get a bad reputation because the general public does not understand the sport, so I am going to try to put the pros to you as succintly as possible:

1.There is no wastage. The commercial fishermen won’t have it, but anywhere between 1.2kg-20kg of bycatch is wasted for each kilo of fish put into the market.

2.There is no bait. The Sharks Board estimated that rock & surf fishermen put several tons of bait into the sea off the Natal coast every year. The research was conducted to evaluate the effect of the proposed drum-lines to be established along the Natal coast.

3.The sport is self limiting. Spearfishers are limited by their ability to dive deep (normally less than 20m), location (close to the beach) and by conditions (weather, sea state & viz). There are 2 other massive limiting factors, personal fitness and a willingness to become part of the food-chain!

4.Environmentally sound. There is little/no gear loss, to negatively impact on the environment, think discarded/lost hooks, lead weights and kilometres of nylon/fluorocarbon line.

5.Ecologically safe, selective & sustainable. There is no negative impact on protected/endangered species unlike any other form of fishing.

Why then, if our sport has been proven to be sustainable and having little impact on the natural environment, do we experience so much animosity? I think people just don’t get it! Recently, we had a very successful day down in the Southern Cape. When unloading our boat an overweight and obviously unfit individual approached us and commented loudly that spearfishing must be much easier than fishing because look at all the fish we had caught, while he had been at sea all day and had nothing to show for it. When I explained that every fish lying in the boat had been stalked in water 20m deep on a single breath of air, his eyes began to widen with surprise. Then the clincher: this all in the backyard of the local notorious great whites. I think he got the message.

This is an elite extreme sport. Be proud of your sport. Join your local club, support those who are lobbying government to revisit outdated/archaic laws governing spearfishing. Be an ambassador for spearfishing. Stick to the rules and regulations.

Finally, I think it is high time, that those who have the priviledge of using the ocean stand united for the common good. That means spearos, fishermen and scuba-divers standing together for the common good of the ocean.

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