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Saudi Spearfishing Article from db news

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New Member
Aug 19, 2002
The domino effect of removing even a single fish from the very delicately balanced reef ecosystem can easily result in a whole breed disappearing from the reef.

This article stinks! There isn’t one scientific fact in it to be able to come to any conclusion, yet the writer makes all these statements as if they are fact. Have we exported some environmental liberalists to Saudi Arabia? I beat their oil industry contributes more harm to their fish than freediving or scuba spearfishermen. Maybe they should close that down!
Don't kill the messenger dude... ;)

I just post the news - whether I agree with it or not.
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I didn’t mean to criticize you at all. I knew you were only posting it. It’s a good article to post to the site, even if it stinks because we need to know what is being said about our sport. My criticism is 100% directed toward the writer and CDNN & Arab News.
I know complements are not as common as criticism, so let me add one here. I have read almost all the articles you have written and good deal of your posts and I have great respect for you and your desire to share and educate. Db and freediving is lucky to have you. Thanks for posting that news article and all the other news articles and all the articles you have authored.

I was only taking the advice at the end of the article, “Why not discuss this news in the forums?” and on that subject, it would be nice to hear what some of the members spearing in Saudi Arabia think about it.
I agree with Don on all counts. There are a couple of things that come to mind here. First, that Saudi Arabia is not that concerned with tourism, and as far as my experience, discourages it. Anyone that I know that dived off Saudi beaches was working there...the only way to get a visa in most cases. The other is that Islam forbids (haram) hunting for sport. Hunting for food is allowed (halal). So who is hunting and not keeping their catches as this reporter writes? I know Muslims who spearfish in The Gulf and off of Oman, and they all eat their catch.
The other thing is as Don said, the ecological impact of retrieving and using oil.
I am curious to hear other opinions. Amphibious should have his 2cents :)
Erik Y.
I knew I was stepping into the you know what by posting this news item... :head
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Originally posted by donmoore
I was only taking the advice at the end of the article, “Why not discuss this news in the forums?” and on that subject, it would be nice to hear what some of the members spearing in Saudi Arabia think about it.
I'm not in a position to comment on the content of the article - however i'm please to see people discuss topics we publish in news or articles.

We feel it's our duty to report news, especially to provoke discussions. Cliff was tasked with posting several topics every day and has done a sterling job since his appointment as News and Media Editor.

Anyway - back to the discussion....
From Some One Who Lived There.....

Fist of all the Saudi Spearfishermen ARE NOT Freedivers - after spending over 18yrs in that country I NEVER met ONE freedive Spearo. I am disgusted by the title of that article because they make unjust assumptions about freedive spearos. Scuba Classes are sold on the basis that you will be able to spearfish after taking this course and I have seen many divers during there basic classes being handed a speargun before they can even put their gear together. Selling a 10watt HID canister for grouper spearing is commonplace, and Riffe Sales grow constantly. Hmmm... for EIGHTEEN YEARS I lived there and NEVER once saw a pair of longfins.... Hmmmm !!!!!!!

I am verbally abused, threated and occasionaly have my equipment destroyed because I am an outspoken anti-scuba spearfisherman there. or should I say expatriate spearo. there is an extreme double standard. The dumpsters dockside in K.S.A. are FILLED with rotting fish. spearos there shoot fish because they CAN, not because they will eat them. there is NO SPORT in spearfishing in saudi. No challenge what-so-ever. you find a grouper, use scuba to swim within touching distance and shoot it in the head. done. Divers there think nothing or tearing apart coralheads to recover shafts. there is NO training and NO laws. It's a joke. Hell, I've PERSONALLY SEEN people shoot reef sharks, have their picture taken and then roll it over board and move to another site. If there is an ethical spearo in Saudi Arabia I haven't met him yet!

and that quote about handing "them" over to the coast gaurd?? Who is this naive numbnuts newbie?? he needs a good slap and a does of GROW-THE-#%^#-UP! The Coast Guard with fine you 500% of what a saudi would get (who they don't fine) take your guns and fish, eat the catch for dinner and use your guns to hunt!

I'll stop now and write more later as the state of spearfishing in saudi arabia is a quick way to piss me off.

more Later

I have found that in many parts of the world, the attitude towards ecology and lack of respect for the environment are exactly as Amphibious writes. When i was in the Middle east I didn't see what he saw, except for amazing amounts of garbage dumping in the streets by the citizens.
In South-east Asia, i saw the same attitude to garbage, and a complete lack of respect for any semblance of balance regarding hunting, fishing, and pollution. The ethics are not taught and nobody seems to give a rat's ass unfortunately.
Education is what's needed in all countries, starting at a young age. Poverty in the 3rd world doesn't help the situation either.
Hopefully attitudes will change.
Erik Y.
OOOiiii Erik, how come your location is now CANADA again ??
Are back there for holiday or what ?

Come to hunt with Papa Iya and you will see I am an eco hunter...:D

How's life man ?

See You
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While I don't doubt the lack of ecological attitudes in third world countries, let me relate a few things that I have come across in my own back yard- America.

First, are the smelt-fisherman that line the docks in Wisconsin. They hang dip nets out over the water and attract the fish with bright lights. They power these lights with car batteries. When the batteries give out they dump them into the lake, I counted 17 one just one dive!:head

Second, is our very own Coast Guard. They have these automated light houses that also run on batteries. When the batteries run out they just dump them into the lake! You can dive the main break walls and find all of these batteries with "U.S. Goverment" stamped on them!:head

Next, are the beer swilling fishermen. There's nothing like penetrating a couple of decks into a 120 year old wreck in 190' of crystal clear water just to find some empty Pabst can- at least drink a good beer!:yack

Then we have the land owners around here. I did a dive job around 10 years ago where we mapped out the bottom of this lake. There were three of us and only two of us were using full-face masks with our Viking drysuits. The third guy wore a regular half mask and paid the price- for the next three days!:yack

We found all of the 55 gallon drums with cement collars on them- to make sure they stayed hidden in the bottom of that lake. We also found more old tires than I could count. Every time we put a jar into the bottom for a sediment sample we would get an oil slick coming to the surface. It was pretty sad. :rcard

I am sure that Ted could relate some other heart-warming stories from his time spent working for the DNR.

Who is Roger Harrison?

After reading Erik’s and Amphibious comments I became real curious over who actually wrote this article. It seemed the person through lack of knowledge or purposely distorting of the truth, is not a Saudi citizen. Here is the link to the article in CDNN http://www.cdnn.info/eco/e030901a/e030901a.html . Its even more degrading with a picture of Pipin Ferreras titled “How many fish can you kill in an hour?”

The article says, “by Roger Harrison”, and then at the end says, “SOURCE - Arab News”. The link to the article in Arab News is http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=31239&d=2&m=9&y=2003, and it is written by Roger Harrison, Arab New Staff. Who is Roger Harrison and what is the Arab News? Well the first thing I can say, with a name like that, he is probably no Saudi national.

From what I could gather, reading their web page, the Arab News is an English paper written, by some people from the Middle East and some Americans and maybe Europeans. It profiles some of the writers, but unfortunately Mr. Harrison is not one of them. An internet search reveals he has written several articles for the Arab News ranging in subjects from George Bush and Tony Blair to mistreatment of pets, specifically snakes, in Saudi Arabia.

It appears to me, that Mr. Harrison has used his position with the paper to push a personally held belief. I also don’t believe the article was written just to inform people of something bad that was happening in Saudi Arabia, but to push his belief that spearfishing is bad, everywhere. I would have felt a little better if Mr. Harrison had at least mentioned fishing, both commercially and recreational, as a source of marine destruction.

The unfortunate thing that the internet search also revealed, is that several publications picked up the article. I guess anything to do with the Middle East is hot news now.
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