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Are there any fish you won't shoot?

Homerkp

Member
Sep 21, 2018
36
20
23
33
Greece
I long ago stopped catching octopus, just because I find them fascinating and the way they fixate on you.

Since I started spearfishing I figured everything is fair game if it's not endangered. I find myself hesitant to shoot groupers though. The first time I saw one, just snorkeling, this big goofy creature looking me in the eyes from a meter away. It only swam away after I tried to touch it. And then it just hid its head in a rock cavity and I still could've grabbed it by the tail.

A week ago I saw a big grouper right near the port, in a town where people say there are no fish so they travel elsewhere. I even know which hole it lives in because there aren't any others. Again, we made eye contact until I got too close. I just feel bad about taking out a such a laid back creature. I feel like they're sea dogs or something. Plus knowing this big creature has been living right here under people's noses for years, like some kind of crypto beast.

I think I'm projecting. Just like a friend who says it's more murderous to shoot a fish in a hole, because it's invasive. Does it make a difference to the fish? I also know other fish are curious, not just groupers. So there's nothing noble about this, maybe mutual respect for another predator, like not shooting a wolf or a tiger.

So I guess it's personal really. I was just wondering if others have this dilemma sometimes.
 

DiveHacker

Active Member
Jun 17, 2020
118
61
33
47
Bangkok
I long ago stopped catching octopus, just because I find them fascinating and the way they fixate on you.

Since I started spearfishing I figured everything is fair game if it's not endangered. I find myself hesitant to shoot groupers though. The first time I saw one, just snorkeling, this big goofy creature looking me in the eyes from a meter away. It only swam away after I tried to touch it. And then it just hid its head in a rock cavity and I still could've grabbed it by the tail.

A week ago I saw a big grouper right near the port, in a town where people say there are no fish so they travel elsewhere. I even know which hole it lives in because there aren't any others. Again, we made eye contact until I got too close. I just feel bad about taking out a such a laid back creature. I feel like they're sea dogs or something. Plus knowing this big creature has been living right here under people's noses for years, like some kind of crypto beast.

I think I'm projecting. Just like a friend who says it's more murderous to shoot a fish in a hole, because it's invasive. Does it make a difference to the fish? I also know other fish are curious, not just groupers. So there's nothing noble about this, maybe mutual respect for another predator, like not shooting a wolf or a tiger.

So I guess it's personal really. I was just wondering if others have this dilemma sometimes.
The sad part about spearfishing is a good portion of the fish that get shot are the ones that are a little inquisitive, and willing to take a little chance to check something out. Hey, as a traveller, that reminds me of myself. Willing to travel solo and take myself out of my element to learn something new. And bam. Those are the ones that get a spear through their skull.

I sound like an anti spearfisherman, I am not. But I do sort of regret many times that it is the inquisitive fish who are the ones that pay the price.
 
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Homerkp

Member
Sep 21, 2018
36
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33
Greece
The sad part about spearfishing is a good portion of the fish that get shot are the ones that are a little inquisitive, and willing to take a little chance to check something out. Hey, as a traveller, that reminds me of myself. Willing to travel solo and take myself out of my element to learn something new. And bam. Those are the ones that get a spear through their skull.

I sound like an anti spearfisherman, I am not. But I do sort of regret many times that it is the inquisitive fish who are the ones that pay the price.
It makes me wonder how smart these things are. The way I've seen them move, hide, check. I had the idea to try and feed a grouper if I ever get the chance. Have you guys seen the videos of groupers hunting together with moray eels? I forgot to mention it. Seeing that they have interspecies cooperation as well as a limited language make it that much harder. Hell, this summer I literally saw a juvenile grouper and a juvenile moray eel swimming side by side. When I feel too moralistic though I remember that I eat meat. The least I could do is bear the feeling of shame myself instead of outsourcing to others.

For octopi it was the way they stared at me as they tried to sink deeper into their holes. Plus you can find a video of a small one asking a woman to roll over a log to get a sea shell.
 

Johny Depth

Member
Sep 27, 2020
95
32
23
51
italy
When spear fishing i have days that i choose not to shoot ,Some times just the day in the sea is good on its on,Then other days the fish size with high fish activity gives me a sense to take a fish home.My friend is the same,Other spearfishermen have a sense that if they exit the sea with out a fish the world doubt their capacity !on occasions i look at the size of their captures then imagine to my self why kill some mullet so small even in the occasion a small sea bass 300 grams 400 grams ,I dont comment on why to shoot a fish so small ! I say nothing big to day or i shot this, nothing under a kilo on this species
 
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Roxton

New Member
Jan 31, 2020
3
1
3
Wien,

Are there any fish you won't shoot?​

Are there any fish you won‘t shoot? ... yes of course. Follow your feelings. In doubt let it go, this is ethical hunting. You are the only one that decides.
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
361
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Between here and nowhere
I refuse to shoot or eat grouper, at least here in the Mediterranean; They should be protected! For other fish, I don't shoot whenever I have doubts on the sustainability, when I feel an emotional connection or when I already shot a fish.

When I see a nice big fish pass right in front of my speargun but decide to let it live and exit the water empty handed, I feel more like a hunter then when I would shoot everything that moves.

I always target the invasive species first, like the lionfish and the germanos (spinefoot). They're tasty, healthy, and by targeting those you actually help the world a little bit. I only target other fish when there's no lionfish around or when I go on a sunday. The reason for sunday is to limit my footprint on the other species, while still eating something else now and then. Any other artificial excuse would have worked just as well. Also I don't use lights, and I don't like to shoot fish hiding in their homes.

I see so many people on the spearfishing groups on FB who just don't understand the ethics in hunting at all. Fucking trigger-happy Rambos. Something many locals here don't seem to understand is that a legal catch is not the same as a sustainable catch.
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,963
1,586
418
Sunny Britain
One prominent staff member was very protective of sharks. Another is very protective of Wrasse.

I often think bass are too good to kill and eat. Such a cool, beautiful looking fish. Mackerel too. I feel protective of cuttlefish (spectacular, changing colours and patterns, produces sepia), octopus (amazing creature, surprisingly smart, can squeeze through tiny gaps and squirts ink; they used to have an octopus maze at Seattle aquarium) and sailfish - the coolest fish of all. Oddly, squid, not so much - happy to eat them.
 
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DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
159
74
43
USA
I refuse to shoot or eat grouper, at least here in the Mediterranean; They should be protected! For other fish, I don't shoot whenever I have doubts on the sustainability, when I feel an emotional connection or when I already shot a fish.

When I see a nice big fish pass right in front of my speargun but decide to let it live and exit the water empty handed, I feel more like a hunter then when I would shoot everything that moves.

I always target the invasive species first, like the lionfish and the germanos (spinefoot). They're tasty, healthy, and by targeting those you actually help the world a little bit. I only target other fish when there's no lionfish around or when I go on a sunday. The reason for sunday is to limit my footprint on the other species, while still eating something else now and then. Any other artificial excuse would have worked just as well. Also I don't use lights, and I don't like to shoot fish hiding in their homes.

I see so many people on the spearfishing groups on FB who just don't understand the ethics in hunting at all. Fucking trigger-happy Rambos. Something many locals here don't seem to understand is that a legal catch is not the same as a sustainable catch.

I believe that your set of standards are unrealistic and don't related to reality at all. Spearos don't catch even 1% of fish caught on yearly basis. The commercial fishing fleets, trawlers, dynamite fishing, pollution and other causes for destruction of marine environment cause the real damage not spearos.

It is nice to boast about being politically correct but it has no appreciable affects or benefits, go after the real criminals.
 

J Campbell

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
566
153
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Annapolis, MD, USA
I believe that your set of standards are unrealistic and don't related to reality at all. Spearos don't catch even 1% of fish caught on yearly basis. The commercial fishing fleets, trawlers, dynamite fishing, pollution and other causes for destruction of marine environment cause the real damage not spearos.

It is nice to boast about being politically correct but it has no appreciable affects or benefits, go after the real criminals.
Nah, everyone can and should contribute to a sustainable ecosystem.
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
361
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Between here and nowhere
I believe that your set of standards are unrealistic and don't related to reality at all. Spearos don't catch even 1% of fish caught on yearly basis. The commercial fishing fleets, trawlers, dynamite fishing, pollution and other causes for destruction of marine environment cause the real damage not spearos.

It is nice to boast about being politically correct but it has no appreciable affects or benefits, go after the real criminals.
The impact of a spearfisherman is miniscule compared to what a big trawler can do in a few seconds, but it still is some impact and one we can control, so I believe we should.

Perhaps, one day, my actions inspire others, who then inspire others, and so on. I could also not give a shit and risk others to be inspired by that instead.

I'm not boasting about being politically correct, eco, or whatever. I just try to do what feels right to me.
 
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DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
159
74
43
USA
The impact of a spearfisherman is miniscule compared to what a big trawler can do in a few seconds, but it still is some impact and one we can control, so I believe we should.

Perhaps, one day, my actions inspire others, who then inspire others, and so on. I could also not give a shit and risk others to be inspired by that instead.

I'm not boasting about being politically correct, eco, or whatever. I just try to do what feels right to me.

You are assuming that your line of thinking is actually helping but it isn't. It is like saying lets stay at home not go out to go fishing to save the environment. Nonsense. Sustainability comes from realistic and effective methods that deal with the actual problems that are the root causes not by advocating practices that only manage to give the impression of doing something but they are only impressions, false ones, that do nothing to actually help in any significant or effective way. What is worse in your line of thinking is that you offer a totally false feeling of positive contribution and doing something while actually it is totally false while leaving the real culprits continue to do do the damage they do at a much wider scale, the commercial fishing industry/pollution/dynamite fishing/destruction of marine environment/etc. vs. spearfishing. This is precisely what is happening in Europe. The fishing industry is so strong and politically influential it managed to steer the blame away from its own wrong doings to the helpless spearfishing community. Outlawing using flashlights while spearfishing when at the same time allowing the trawlers and other massive fishing industries to flourish is hypocritical and is misleading the public. It makes the constituents feel that they and their politicians are doing something positive while the truth they aren't at all, they are only going after the inconsequential and the helpless while leaving the real dominant wrong-doer very active.
 
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Leander

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
361
188
58
37
Between here and nowhere
I get your point. You (in the general sense) are just a grain of sand in the desert. An ant in the giant nest. What possibly could you do that would impact the world? The actions of a single person are too insignificant to measure, unless of course we're talking about individuals like Trump or Thunberg. But you and me? We can only live our lives, preferably in the way society expects it from us. Drive your car, do your job, don't think and definitely don't try to change anything.

That it is stupide to outlaw something on micro level while it is legally done on industrial scale I wholeheartedly agree (still doesn't mean that you should do it too simply because they are). But on this we can have exactly this same discussion. Would you try to do anything to change that law? I mean, as a single person your voice won't be heard, so why not just give up?
 

Homerkp

Member
Sep 21, 2018
36
20
23
33
Greece
I dunno about fish birthrates or anything, but when I found out that groupers only become male after a certain amount of years, and big groupers are what spear fisherman target, I wondered: If there aren't that many, and spear fisherman keep taking out the big males, as well as any big ones they find that haven't become males yet, then maybe they could be putting a dent into their numbers.

In any case I also realize that some of my practices might be governed by a desire to contribute to sustainability, and others might just be my own projections. I may not have much effect on fish life myself, but the more interested I become in fishing the more inclined I'll be to point out to people if I notice them fishing something endangered, or too small.
 

DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
159
74
43
USA
I get your point. You (in the general sense) are just a grain of sand in the desert. An ant in the giant nest. What possibly could you do that would impact the world? The actions of a single person are too insignificant to measure, unless of course we're talking about individuals like Trump or Thunberg. But you and me? We can only live our lives, preferably in the way society expects it from us. Drive your car, do your job, don't think and definitely don't try to change anything.

That it is stupide to outlaw something on micro level while it is legally done on industrial scale I wholeheartedly agree (still doesn't mean that you should do it too simply because they are). But on this we can have exactly this same discussion. Would you try to do anything to change that law? I mean, as a single person your voice won't be heard, so why not just give up?

I am not saying that we shouldn't do our part and try to protect the environment just because others don't do it, no, we should do our part as much as possible and practical. Our role is also to not let the politicians put their restrictions on our community while ignoring the real culprits. We, as spearos and divers, have been singled out and blamed for many things that we have nothing to do with it while the actual offenders were left free to do the real harm just because we are a helpless community and don't have the political and financial clout the others do. Sometimes our community is our own worst enemy because we seem to propagate the myths and the wrongly placed blame on us and let our necks stick out for punishment when we shouldn't.
 
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DivingNomad

Active Member
Sep 21, 2015
159
74
43
USA
I dunno about fish birthrates or anything, but when I found out that groupers only become male after a certain amount of years, and big groupers are what spear fisherman target, I wondered: If there aren't that many, and spear fisherman keep taking out the big males, as well as any big ones they find that haven't become males yet, then maybe they could be putting a dent into their numbers.

In any case I also realize that some of my practices might be governed by a desire to contribute to sustainability, and others might just be my own projections. I may not have much effect on fish life myself, but the more interested I become in fishing the more inclined I'll be to point out to people if I notice them fishing something endangered, or too small.

Please do it at the fish market or at the dockside where the larger fishing boats and trawlers come to dock with their massive catch.
 

Andrew the fish

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
503
126
83
Burnaby BC Canada
ratfish I never shoot at anymore. Very neat-looking fish, chimaera, with soft nose and fins that are half way to being legs and arms. Took it once by mistake.

Here in Canada we have very developed fishing regulations, so that my moral choices are kind of thought out for me. Staying within regs leave nothing that I would hesitate to shoot at. Almost forgot, I wouldn't shoot at perch because it doesn't taste very good.
 
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DiveHacker

Active Member
Jun 17, 2020
118
61
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Bangkok
I saw a decent sized grouper the other day, a spotted one and I find them to be gorgeous. I did not take a shot probably because of the beauty.

I swam around and was not seeing much and started to really regret my decision. Does this happen to everyone?

Then I saw another spotted grouper later, smaller, and I shot it. I don't know what any of that means, but it was a good dinner.
 
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