[Coral-List] Thoughts on Spearfishing on Scuba

Zahra Ennis zahraennis120 at gmail.com
Thu May 8 17:27:57 EDT 2014

Hi Eric,

In 2012, I completed a report on Commercial Spearfishing in Jamaica,
through the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture and the University of the
West Indies. It was based on delivering questionnaires to spear-fishers
islandwide, looking into the impact spearfishing made on the fishing
industry as well as the logistics of it, such as which types of air supply
yielded the greatest catch. Among the types of gear studied were Hookah,
SCUBA, and none (free divers).

This study showed that although the use of SCUBA gear was the least popular
method for these spear-fishers, it allowed them to spend the least amount
of time per day fishing, and catch an average of 15.5 kg daily, almost
double the daily catch of free divers (8.9 kg).

The real problem was shown to be the use of the Hookah apparatus, which
allowed divers to catch more than four times the daily catch of SCUBA users
and eight times the daily catch of free divers.

Of course, catching more fish is great for those trying to make an
immediate income from it, however, to an already overfished environment
such as the reefs of Jamaica, it is only an added stressor, resulting in a
continued decrease in biodiversity and reef fish populations and ultimately
a huge problem for sustaining the fishing industry.

I'm not sure if you are reporting on recreational, commercial spearfishing
or both, but hopefully this info helps a little.

Zahra Ennis
B.Sc, Marine Biology

On Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 11:55 AM, Nicole Crane <nicrane at cabrillo.edu> wrote:

> Hi Eric,
> I know many spearfisherpeople, both free divers and scuba divers, who
> are careful, knowledgeable, and skilled.  I also know some who are
> reckless and not careful, and who do not have a good knowledge base from
> which to draw from (at least not about the fish they are targeting).
> The most important thing for all hunters, I believe, is to understand
> the fish you hunt, the impact of the hunting activity, and how to
> minimize the impact in oceans that are under threat from multiple factors.
> Fact: there are many fish that come to the nearshore to lay eggs in
> nests.  For some of these fish, the nests are guarded by males (such as
> the temperate west coast cabezon and ling cod).
> Fact: These males will guard those nests, and are very easy to spear.
> This is in fact the worst time to spear them as you are essentially
> killing them and all the eggs in the nest they are guarding.  For
> Cabezon, this can represent the reproductive effort of several females
> (multiple females will lay in one nest).
> Fact: scuba divers have an edge over free divers here because they can
> just swim until they find the fish, and easily spear them.
> Free divers tend to give the fish more of a chance, since the free diver
> has to rely on more skill to hunt and then spear the fish.
> On 4/28/14, 7:42 AM, Eric Douglas wrote:
> > I write the Ask an Expert column for Scuba Diving magazine and I am
> looking to quote one or two people who are opposed to spearfishing on
> scuba. I would like to hear from anyone with a fact-based opinion.
> >
> >
> > Thank you.
> >
> >
> > Eric
> >
> >
> --
> Nicole L. Crane
> Cabrillo College
> Division of Natural and Applied Sciences
> 831-479-5094
> nicrane at cabrillo.edu
> www.cabrillo.edu/~ncrane
> Oceanic Society
> Senior Conservation Scientist
> www.oceanicsociety.org
> _______________________________________________
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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