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Spearfishing: Good or Bad?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Hi Anderson, are bull dolphin mammals? Or are they like another fish I have seen that is called a dolphin fish? I could not shoot an air breather. No judgement here, my friend...just curious.
Erik Y.
I think understanding the beings that give you sustenance (a la North American Indian cliche - but one that was true and important, I believe) is a great thing...

How well does the average MacDonald's customer understand the cow, for example? :(

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the bull is just the term for the male dolphin fish. no it is not a mammal.

i'd shoot my partner before i ever shot a marine mammal. not really, but you know what i mean. aquiles and i are so pro-ecology all we do is harrass our congressmen about better marine laws. you won't find two more environmentally conscious spearos anywhere. well, i'd like to think so. well maybe not. i'd like to think that there are alot more out there like us.

there are two great organizations we support on the frontpage of our website. one more internationally active than the other.

later guys,

and pete, do you really think that's beef you're eating when you go to mcdonalds? :D
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I guess there's going on some sort of a mix up of morals and environment. An English (gentle ?)man chasing a fox with his hounds and then letting them dogs rip the poor animal apart is largely considered to practise something morally dubious. Someone else flying 6000 miles to swim with the dolphins in Florida (not so good example, I know), is not easily identified with skewed sense of right and wrong when it comes to treating animals. But there's no question that the frequent flyer is doing much more damage to the environment.

What I'm trying to say is that we should calmly assess the resources used etc. in our sport before claiming moral superiority. Freediving in it self is without any doubt a "good" sport, but especially for us living so far north that the waters are ice covered for good part of the year, the temptation to travel somewhere warm is overwhelming. Hence I'm a bit timid to declare myself as saving the world.

Going to Tenerife next month
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spearfishing: good or bad

I guess zero impact on the enviroment would be a great ideal but we have to realize the practicality of it. If you could live w/out food or water and stood on one square foot of ground for the rest of your life you still would be impacting the enviroment. Granted some of the activities that we do are greatly negative, but if we try to reduce these and respect the resource (thats what the earth is along w/ an ecosystem) I believe we can achieve a balance. There's not much point in becoming technologically advanced if we want to try to return to the stone age. Even they impacted the enviroment, just ask the mastadons. Not to get religous but I believe that the earth was given to me to be used as a resource by my God, I'll agree we shouldn't abuse it , but I also don't think that we should turn away from harvesting its bounty when appropriate. Just my humble opinion. Jay
what am i doing?!

what really happens when i spear a fish is that i run a chance on puncturing their swim bladder. if that happens, gas is expelled and sent to the surface. if you know anything about reef fish you'll know that their bladders contain a small concentration of methane. well, the methane that makes it to the surface will eventually make it to our atmosphere that will in turn break down the ozone which will create a nice little hole up there. this hole is going to let in more UV light which in turns heats up our planet which in turn melts some of the polar ice caps which in turn raises the mean sea level which in turn cause more coastal erosion. i recently just released a harbored family of ghost crabs back to the beach last month and now with this huge chain reaction, i realize i may have just washed away their home. :(

time to ban spearfishing!
first of all i really hope that was a joke

second of all, i hate to get technical, methane (CH4, 1 carbon atom and 4 Hydrogen atoms) has noting to do with Ozone (O3) depletion the chemicals most accosiated with O3 depletion are the chlorofluorocarbons (for a complete chart go to http://www.epa.gov/docs/ozone/ods.html)
the element that breaks down the O3 is the chlorine, chlorine is present in all CFC's. The chlorine then hooks up with an ozone molecule and takes an oxygen atom this causes o3 to become o2 and do nothing to help protect the earth.

I´ve never dived from a motorboat, and usually get to where I'm diving by foot, bike, or public transportation. I've never used tanks (full of energy-wasting compressor-fed air). I eat everything I kill.
Does that make it OK for me to have macho fantasies while spearing fish, and cackling evilly as I nail the little bastards?
Just wondering.
like a witch, snorklebum!

i too have that "gotchya" yell.

i think the majority of us have tried to keep this topic on track, and i think it's a good one. however, i think people should respond to what's being said, not their world views on a different subject. i think everyone has a right to express an opinion, but grow a pair and start your own thread if you have a plan for whirled peas. stick to the issue!

back to being realistic... i still think the commercial fishing industry needs to be re-evaluated, although nix-ing it altogether would be nice. i still believe that the best way for a spearfisher to be environmentally conscious(and that's the marine environment!) is to try and understand the organisms that they are encountering. remember, reefs take forever to grow(watch your fins!) and officials have set up species regulations for a good reason(follow them!). other than that, you guys have covered the other issues well.

later fellas,
spearfishing: good or bad

I second that motion, lets get back to talking spearfishing. Anyone know where I can get one of those 5 pronged heads like they use in Australia? I think they call them "prangers". I already have the three prong paralyzer tip but would like to try theirs.

hey guys,

i just found this article and thought it was relevent to this topic. it's by a gentleman by the name of Dan Volker and the subject is on South Florida's Coastal Ecology and Implications for Commercial Fishing, Recreational Line Fishing, Scuba Spearfishing, and Freedive Spearfishing.

i especially like the statement on freedive spearfishing: As our social system must necessarily divide its ocean resources between several recreational "user groups", it should be further noted that the ecological effects of freedive spearfishing, particularly in waters of 40 feet deep and deeper, can be considered to represent no ecological effect, in terms of relative efficiency of fish taking. In other words, freedive spearfishermen will remove the smallest number of fish, because it is the most difficult method of capturing fish, and further, it is the most selective. The selectivity springs from the great deal of time and training (and ecological appreciation this time creates) required to be give a person the skills to freedive spearfish, and the belief system embraced by all IUSA and related freedivers (which mandates very limited numbers of fish taken, and ecological awareness in selecting species to hunt).

anyways, here's the link.


Verrrrry Interesting!

As a wildlife manager I must say that this is the key to the whole thing: think ecologically.

First of all: know your prey.
(abundance, reproduction strategy, population size, etc...)

Second: know their relation to their habitat (the area where they live and the effect they have on that area).

Third: pick the right individual

And last: make a clean kill and yell Gotha!!!! (preferably without drowning yourself in the process... )


Lynn :D
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Here’s another perspective to the question: “is spearfishing good or bad ?”

To answer this question another question comes to my mind: why is it so much easier for people in general to hurt / kill fish than to hurt / kill mammals or birds ??

Here is my theory:
Fish have no facial expression at all. Neither can they communicate with sounds like mammals or birds. They also don’t have limbs which they can move to express somethingand they are never cuddly like cats or dogs. If we hurt them, we won’t get other feedback from them than just some quick moves.
And however I’m not a biologist, I’m pretty sure that they can feel and experience tremendous pain and fear and that they do send out stress-signals which just can’t be picked up by our senses.
Realizing this makes it easier to understand why people can go fishing for fun but on the other hand hate hunting. People who still love to fish should ask themselves if they would continue fishing if fish could scream like hell when they are in pain…. If the answer is yes you might consider taking your rod to the woods and fish for rabbit. They probably give a lot of sport and action when they are cought!
If this last conclusion sounds a bit weird and cruel to you, you probably haven’t realized the part about stress-signals which can’t be picked up by our senses….

From here we can jump to another question: if you like spearfishing, you might consider taking your speargun to the woods to hunt for rabbits or other mammals. This can be very ecological too…

So, if you would like to gather your own food, and you don’t mind to inflict incredible pain and fear on other beings, it’s perfectly OK to go spearfishing. If it’s not OK to you, don’t go spearfishing and don’t eat fish at all.
On the other hand, if you do to compete with others, I think that you are killing and torturing for pleasure. For me that’s on the same ethical level as bullfighting......

Natural born killers

Hi Fred,

I agree with you on the subject that killing animals is cruel, as well as on the fact that fish look less 'cute' to most people than little cuddly rabbits or foxes.

But what about going for a shower every day, those millions of poor micro-organisms we wash off and drown, or swallow when we eat some food and leave to dissolve in the acid contents of our stomach? What about the flie you swat at when it sits on your home-made veggie sandwich? Won't they scream?

What I want to say with all this is that nature isn't as nice as you like it to be. We are all born killers.

I'm not a spearfisher myself but I believe spearfishermen can fish in an ethical manner, as well as hunters can hunt in an ethical manner, as long as they make a clean kill and don't decimate populations.
But I guess you'll have to make that up for yourself.

Agree to disagree.


i choose not to be a vegetarian. i choose to catch my own fish to eat. i choose not to purchase fish from markets or restaraunts or help in anyway the market of mass fish netting or longlining. i take a small fraction of my allowable harvest amount so that i may enjoy being in the water more often to hunt without worrying about taking more than i could consume in a reasonable amount of time.

please don't think that this sport is strictly for target practice on helpless creatures. :naughty i could go on for days on how humane spearfishing actually is compared to other methods of harvesting. but in reality, everything becomes relative. what you may see as cruel, i see as an effective way to put food on my plate.

and lynn, let's keep this PC, please... that's "spearfisherpeople" :D

~ anderson
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MY response is based upon a personal POV

Although I haven't been following this thread in great detail, I am going to touch on this from my own experiences.

The hunt has been a part of many cultures that brings the "tribe" together and builds stronger bonds with nature and with the community tribe as well.

I now eat meat and fish for nutritional reasons - and I have already heard the arguments regarding getting what I need from an all vegetarian diet. I don't feel that it applies to my specific needs.

It is a scientifically proven fact that of all the protein sources available,
egg protein is of such high quality that it is used as the standard by which other proteins are compared. Eggs have a biological value (efficacy with which protein is used for growth) of 93.7% - Egg Nutrition Center.

I do alter my consumption of them by having 5 eggs - with only one yoke. High protein, very little fat and it is assimilated by my body very well. High quality fish is the same - and it tastes better than anything out of the seafood department of your local grocery store.

On that note - I use to be a vegetarian for several years. I did all that was suppose to help me feel better, lose weight, etc. It was the total opposite. Within the last couple of years, I began to question an all vegetarian diet.

I then came across a book called "Eating for your Blood Type". It had a lot of thought provoking information about why this might be an option for me. Now, although I don't totally agree with all that was said in the book, there were several key things that were brought up regarding blood type and eating habits. I took a chance and totally changed how I had been eating based upon some of the information in the book.

It worked. My eating as a vegetarian was actually UNHEALTHY for me. Being a Type O blood type, I needed to eat what I term is the "Caveman" diet - Meat and veges with little carbs.

As a result - I am the healthiest I have been in years, lost over 30 lbs in the process and have no remorse regarding eating meat and fish.

Now, I do have a major problem with how the vast majority of meat and fish are raised and harvested. I do believe it is cruel and a detriment to the environment. As a result I only eat Organically Raised beef and poultry, and the fish I eat are either from the local fisherman who come into port everyday in the coastal towns I frequent or I harvest only what I need to feed my family.

From a personal belief system (which is not a policy of Deeperblue.net) - I do not believe that animals have higher level emotions - they do experience fear which is a basal instinct inherant in all animal species, but the reality is, we are higher on the food chain than the animals that are available for consumption. Many base their vegetarianism upon spiritual beliefs, and that's ok - for them. But to impose those beliefs upon others by imposing laws that says they are the same as us is unethical and immoral - and is unproven scientifically.

I hold a similar view that the Native Americans of this country hold when it came time to harvest game - it was almost a spiritual event for them - I respect the game that I hunt and when I kill my target - I say a little prayer of thanks in my own belief system for allowing me to harvest this part of creation and will treat it with respect regarding it's consumption and that it will not be a waste of its former life.

This is a very tricky topic based upon many ethical and spiritual/religious belief systems. But the reality is that if one hunts in a responsbile and ethical manner, one is doing their part in the cycle of life - many of these same creatures are hunted by other fish who are higher on the food chain themselves. The debate will probably never be fully resolved, but to raise the question and to discuss it gives others a chance to make a decision that is right for themselves.

I think this can be best summarized by this quote:

Voluntary adherence to an ethical code elevates the self-respect of the sportsman, but it should not be forgotten that voluntary disregard of the code degenerates and depraves him." - Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac, 1949)

Canadian Hunter Jim Powlesland has an excellent web page on the issue of ethical and responsible hunting and I highly recommend it for those who want a clearer perspective on this issue. http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~powlesla/personal/hunting/

I also did an article on my first experience with the rite of passage of becoming a member of the tribe of spearfishing hunters. I hope to have it up soon.

Finally - I personally feel that hunting and tank diving is similar to someone going to an area and throwing a bomb in the water to have all the fish come to the surface without any effort expended on their part.

OK - any flames I should be prepared for?
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spearfishing: good or bad

This issue has so many levels, and I thought we covered them earlier, but here goes my 2 cents again. To reply to Fred, I am a land hunter and a spearfisherman. I hunt rabbits, squirrels, deer, ect. w/ a bow. I guess thats alot like spearfishing. I also gun hunt. I believe animals do feel pain but not on to order we do. I believe they were designed that way to survive in the wild w/ out a vet. around the corner to go to. I have seen many animals in the wild w/ horrific wounds that were completely healed that probably would have killed a human. Fish on the other hand, I believe are even farther down on the pain threshhold. I've seen snappers w/ the last third of their body bitten off swimming around. I'm sure they produce some sort of distress signal went something happens to them. That way the rest of the school can avoid the area and predators also use this to locate prey.
When I take a animals life I do have mixed emotions. I have the joy of harvesting the animal w/ minimal pain and also a sorrow for taking that life. It called "hunters remorse", thats why I can respect game and still take its life. I think we get into some dangerous positions when we start to personify animals w/ human traits. I won't go into my Christian beliefs, but I believe that animals were put here for my use, not to be my equal. If anyone wants to discuss this they can use PM. Take India for example, people are starving to death all over the country and yet there are cows just walking all over the place as gods or reincarnated relatives. The cows have been given equal or higher status than the people.
As for Cliffs statement about tank diving and hunting being like going out and throwing a bomb and collecting the game. It's not quite that easy. Granted using a rifle or using tanks does raise your odds of getting game it doesn't guarenetee it. I do both, but only when the conditions warrent it. For some that maybe never but thats your choice. I would rather hunt w/ a bow or freedive/spearfish only, but at times thats not an option if I want the opportunity to take game. I am very discriminate in the game I take and the manner in which I choose to harvest it has more to do w/ personal ethics and boundries and not something that can be broad stroked over everyone to make them conform. If I harvest within (and most of the time under) the established limits the manner shouldn't matter.
I respect everyones opinions on these subjects, this is a great platform to get these ides out and let each other hear what the other has to say. Maybe some fellings will be changed, maybe they won't. I guess thats why we can't live in the same place and work at the same job. Take care everyone.
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cliff and NRA Jay, great thoughts with detailed support. :D

i'd still like to invite others on either side of this issue(or even neutral) to keep up this discussion. i think it's very important to get a more accurate view of widespread personal opinions of this sport.

i do, however, stress that you try to personalize your concern with how you think the sport directly effects you or your local marine environment. please try not to hop on a conservation bandwagon and run with popular opinions. there are way too many professionals on this forum who have more of an awareness of what's going on than most could possibly fathom. so, to criticize about a community's lack of concern or reprocussions of this sport without adequate support of your issues doesn't give an argument much strength.

so far i think most have done a good job of keeping the discussion on a mature level. let's keep it going.

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Wow, some statements can cause quite some unexpected reactions. So I would like to react to some of them. I don't want to take all the sideways of this discussion like the quality of protein etc. (did I say that I'm a vegetarian???) We were talking about the ethics of spearfishing and I just tried to view this topic from another angle.

First to Jenn: "But what about going for a shower every day, those millions of poor micro-organisms we wash off and drown, or swallow when we eat some food and leave to dissolve in the acid contents of our stomach? We are all born killers."
Strange way of suggesting that because we can't help all the micro-organisms being killed, it's ok to kill anything else that you see around you. I know you don't mean to say this but you actually said it by your example....
Being alive allways means you will kill others beings while you're unaware of this. That is something else than making a decision to actively kill another being.

Cliff, the site you highly recommended (http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~powlesla/personal/hunting/ ) contains some real sick thoughts..... Do you approve of all the things written there ?????

The only thing that disturbs me the most in these discussions, and it's the same in discussions with landhunters, is that you hunters never dare to say that "yes, the primairy reason why I hunt / spearfish is that I love the thrill of killing another being."
The reasons are always about harvesting, ecology, being one with nature, protecting nature etc. etc.
While it is so easy to get those thing in another way.
Whom of you dares to say this ?

If I'm complety wrong here please tell me. I don't want to attack or offend people; just discussing this topic.

spearfishing: good or bad

Since I hunt land and water I guess I'll try to answer this. Yes I could get my protien from another source or yes I could just get my meat from the store. I choose not too though, (at least not the vegatarian thing). It may sound like a clique but for me "it's not the kill but the trill of the chase". And I will not say that the reason I do these things are because I enjoy killing other organisms, its just the end of the process. I have ended many hunts w/out taking game because it was my choice, not because of lack of game. If my primary reason was to kill I wouldn't come back empty handed. Since you have seen and heard the explanations given by hunters over and over again then maybe there's truth in it. Don't say its not true just because you don't agree w/ the answer. Maybe people aren't saying killing is the primary reason they hunt because it isn't. I think this is a personal ethics topic. If you choose not to eat meat or hunt thats fine and I'll support your right to do that, but as for me I choose to and will fight just as hard for that right. Do you condem your cat if it goes out and kills a mouse. It doesn't need the food. The cat wants to chase the mouse and catch the mouse. The death of the mouse happens eventually as part of the process. Sometimes the mouse gets eatten sometimes not. At least I eat the things I kill. Lets try not to make this a moral battleground on this subject. We all have different opinions and they are all right to us. We've beaten this dead horse enough. Opps-couldn't resist that one. Take care Fred.
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