Spearfishing is hunting underwater for fish. The act of hunting is always under scrutiny for conservationists and anyone opposed to hunting. Some people think the killing of any animal is immoral and wrong. No matter how you feel about hunting and the killing of animals, all opinions should be respected and considered.
If you’re a spearfisherman, it is essential that you understand the laws and regulations for your area and that you practice hunting in a manner that is both ethical and conservation minded. Fish species around the world have been dwindling for decades, so knowing your local laws and practicing conservation minded spearfishing helps to preserve each species for the future.
When you plan a spearfishing trip, it is understandable that you want to shoot a fish or two for dinner. Planning your trip, getting dive cylinders filled, fueling up the boat, and getting to the dive site all take a lot of work and time. Understandably, heading home without a fish can be disappointing. However, this could be the best thing you could do. Just because you didn’t get a fish doesn’t mean your trip was a failure. Maybe you didn’t see any fish or maybe the fish you saw were small juveniles or maybe they were just on the edge of being legal size to take. Whatever the situation, leaving the juveniles and smaller sized fish alone so that they can reproduce and grow into larger fish means that there will be fish in the future. If you would have taken a fish or two just because you spent all of the time and money to get there, means that you could have damaged reproductive abilities of the species and removed opportunities for the fish to mature.
Ensuring that there will be fish for the future is every spearfisherman’s responsibility. There are a few rules you should follow on every spearfishing trip.
· Know what specie of fish you’re hunting, it’s legal size, how many fish you’re allowed to take (bag limit), and the open season for hunting the fish. If you don’t understand these things, you may be diminishing the species and ruining the chances for reproduction. This in turn, removes the chances that you’ll be able to find larger fish in the future.
· Don’t shoot more fish than you plan on eating. Just because the bag limit may be five fish for the day, doesn’t mean you need to shoot five fish. Only shoot what you can eat while the fish is still fresh. Don’t head out on trip with a mindset that you’re going to feed your entire family and all of your friends.
· Don’t shoot at a fish unless you have a great shot. If you hit the fish in a bad area, such as its stomach area, it can easily get off your shaft and swim away. Usually, you’ve injured the fish to a point that it will die from infection or that it will become prey for another species. Know how to aim your speargun, where the kill spot is on a fish, and make sure you have a good shot before shooting.
· Know the local laws for the area you’re hunting in. If you ignore the laws, practice over-hunting, and fail to hunt with a positive and conservation-minded attitude, you risk the sport of spearfishing and ruin the chances for future generations to enjoy spearfishing and eating fish.
Conservation is upon us in many forms. Over fishing has caused a steep decline in many species around the world. As a spearfisherman, you have the obligation to participate and practice conservation-minded spearfishing wherever in the world you hunt fish. If the area you spearfish has declining populations of certain fish, your ethical and moral decision should be to refrain from hunting that species until the fish has recovered. Giving the fish a chance to recover is not something that should be looked at as weak or giving in. It should be looked at as honorable and respectable and right thing to do. By developing a conservation-minded attitude, you can hunt fish and protect fish at the same time for future generations to come.