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Old 11-10-2013, 20:37   #1
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Sailing/spearing (around the world)

Hi guys/gals,

I guess this is the place for intros, so here's mine. First, glad to be part of the community - I'm going to do some searching/reading/lurking and learn a bit.

As far as me - I'm a freediver/spearfisherman who has long been scheming, in an effort to leave it all and dive/spear the most remote places on the planet (without having to worry about the return flight). Well, I'm almost there.

I'm in the process of a 12-18 month wind-down where I get the boat/equipment/skills necessary to leave. The boat will likely be a catamaran 38-42', and the time period will be between 3-5 years (more if financially feasible).

I realize there's an incredible amount of sailing blogs out there, but if you're interested in the underwater realm - I hope you drop by and check mine out.

Cheers,

Nate
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Old 11-10-2013, 22:05   #2
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

I never thought I'd find myself saying anything like this, but ---
do you eat everything you spear?
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Old 11-10-2013, 22:16   #3
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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I never thought I'd find myself saying anything like this, but ---
do you eat everything you spear?
Of course.

When we land big fish we host sushi parties and give away quite a bit of fish.

Honestly that's one of my favorite things - sharing high-quality food with friends and family (and not charging them for it). If you think I'd let wahoo, mahi, grouper, or tuna spoil - you're off your rocker.
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Old 11-10-2013, 22:34   #4
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How easy or legal is it to spearfish in most island nations around the world? Any challenges entering or leaving countries with spearguns?
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Old 11-10-2013, 22:37   #5
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

Did a lot of free dive spear fishing in the Tuamotus. Shot our protein and provided quite a bit for the other cruisers and locals. Dove a lot in the Marquesas but Ciquatera is major problem there so only caught lobster. Tahiti and Moorea were pretty much fished out and saw very little fish large enough to make a meal and those were VERY skittish and wouldn't let me close. Once you get away from population centers, fish are plentiful and diving is great. Still have to some concern about Ciguatera and can't really trust the locals for knowledge of where/what fish are safe. Definitely stay away from the large predators

If you went with a mono hull you could probably leave tomorrow. Multi's seem to be double or more the price of Mono's of anywhere near equivalent length. If you are thinking of beaching potential, the French make some nice aluminum center boarders that are not cheap but still less than the multls.

A lot of the countries in the Carribean don't want you to spear fish. The Bahama's are one. Believe you can still hunt with a Hawaiian Sling. Best to check with the authorities before you get the gun out.
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Old 11-10-2013, 22:45   #6
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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Originally Posted by capt.cam View Post
How easy or legal is it to spearfish in most island nations around the world? Any challenges entering or leaving countries with spearguns?
Freediving spearfishing is generally pretty well accepted around the world. It's a very inefficient/dangerous way of catching your dinner (unlike gill-netting/long-lining).

SCUBA diving and spearfishing is generally not accepted. And while spearguns aren't really much to worry about on land, depending on who you're speaking with at customs - they may or may not have a problem with them as baggage.

The only other issue is sailing through parks and preserves - they typically ban a vessel from having spearguns aboard, which can restrict places you visit.
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Old 11-10-2013, 22:55   #7
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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Did a lot of free dive spear fishing in the Tuamotus. Shot our protein and provided quite a bit for the other cruisers and locals. Dove a lot in the Marquesas but Ciquatera is major problem there so only caught lobster. Tahiti and Moorea were pretty much fished out and saw very little fish large enough to make a meal and those were VERY skittish and wouldn't let me close. Once you get away from population centers, fish are plentiful and diving is great. Still have to some concern about Ciguatera and can't really trust the locals for knowledge of where/what fish are safe. Definitely stay away from the large predators

If you went with a mono hull you could probably leave tomorrow. Multi's seem to be double or more the price of Mono's of anywhere near equivalent length. If you are thinking of beaching potential, the French make some nice aluminum center boarders that are not cheap but still less than the multls.

A lot of the countries in the Carribean don't want you to spear fish. The Bahama's are one. Believe you can still hunt with a Hawaiian Sling. Best to check with the authorities before you get the gun out.
Good to hear from someone like-minded! Cig is definitely a worry and definitely something I'll work hard to avoid. A friend of mine (who circumnavigated) - caught it in the Marquesas. Like you said - it's a problem there.

Bahamas are cool - we did that last year with pole-spears. They'll let you use slings and poles - nothing with a trigger. Landed some large grouper, massive lobster, and a couple of big amberjack. See attached.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:44   #8
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

Where did you get those amberjack? What sort of depths? Awesome looking fish.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:16   #9
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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Where did you get those amberjack? What sort of depths? Awesome looking fish.
Thanks! Amberjack are a reef fish, but swim freely above it (so they're a little pelagic too). They're typically very curious but they're very, very strong and difficult to pull in. Second only to tuna, in terms of fighting ability.

We find them in the Gulf over 100 pounds (see attached), and there they prefer the cooler water. So in the winter, they're shallow (20-30 feet) and in the summer they're deep (80-200 feet). I've never seen them that large anywhere else.

The previous AJ was taken diving in December in the Bahamas, so the water was cool. I stuck one small one at 10 feet and a big one (70 pounds) at the surface.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:28   #10
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

Hiya Nomad! Can you ease up on catching groupers? They have been over-fished to near extinction. I, like anyone else, like to dine on a crispy grouper with a spicey butter lemon sauce. The reality is, this fish is about to be extinct...let's all give it a break...one saved fish at a time. I'd rather see them swimming around me while diving, then having them on my dinner plate.

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Old 12-10-2013, 09:52   #11
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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Hiya Nomad! Can you ease up on catching groupers? They have been over-fished to near extinction. I, like anyone else, like to dine on a crispy grouper with a spicey butter lemon sauce. The reality is, this fish is about to be extinct...let's all give it a break...one saved fish at a time. I'd rather see them swimming around me while diving, then having them on my dinner plate.

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Here we go...

Got any numbers to go with that, or is that speculation?

As you may (or may not) know - there are hundreds of species of grouper. And as you clearly don't know - "grouper" certainly aren't near extinction as a whole.

Finally - when we take fish, we do it risking our lives. We have to dive very deep, holding our breath, and somehow get within a very few feet of the fish. Then we fight sharks to get the fish to the boat. Spearfishing is by far the most sustainable, least efficient way to fish.

So, next time you have a grouper sandwich or a crispy grouper with lemon sauce - rest assured: how ever that fish was taken - net, long line, or fishing rod... It was taken in a far less fair, wholesome, or sustainable way.

And if you're set on having a cause and want to save the fisheries, I'll direct you towards a species of fish that IS actually overfished and borders on extinction (once again - from netting and long-lining): the Bluefin Tuna.

Go take a shot with that fish, and here's some reading material so you don't come off as ill-informed: Pacific Bluefin Tuna Overfishing Has Led To 96 Percent Population Reduction, Study Says

Cheers
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:53   #12
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

You were very lucky in the Bahamas to escape ciguatera with that grouper and amberjack. Generally, fish there are safe up to 24". Grouper of any size have high toxic potential in certain areas there. Yellowfin and broomtail groupers are considered dangerous everywhere. Yours looks like a black grouper, which are not as troublesome. Personally, I would not eat an amberjack anywhere in the Bahamas.

I am also an avid spearfisher ( Fish | East of the Equator | M&M ). Your first photos are mostly pelagic fish, and they will be safe worldwide. I haven't done any pelagic shooting - did you use detachable floats? I have shot some big jacks, pompano and king mackerel that have taken me on quite interesting sleigh rides. I can't imagine being connected to that tuna in your picture!

Teknav, in many parts of the world, grouper are very abundant and not threatened in any sense. Nor are they regulated outside of breeding season because of this. Even jewfish are plentiful. Since there is no way a Panamanian grouper is going to swim to Texas for mating, there is no problem inviting him home for dinner instead. These fish are not about to be extinct, although greediness in some parts of the world (Texas) have made them almost extinct in those areas. So "saving" them where they are abundant and not threatened does not help your dinner or diving experiences. Really - I have often pushed groupers out of the way to get a shot at a fish I was more interested in. And I see jewfish everywhere.

It is all relative to area.

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Old 12-10-2013, 10:06   #13
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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You were very lucky in the Bahamas to escape ciguatera with that grouper and amberjack. Generally, fish there are safe up to 24". Grouper of any size have high toxic potential in certain areas there. Yellowfin and broomtail groupers are considered dangerous everywhere. Yours looks like a black grouper, which are not as troublesome. Personally, I would not eat an amberjack anywhere in the Bahamas.
I checked with the locals and did some online homework before we went. That Amberjack looks big, but he was no more than 30 pounds (whereas the second picture of an AJ was over 100)... Funny the difference camera-angle makes. From what I read, they're dangerous when they get bigger. The grouper was a black, and they're fine there to much larger (or so say my buddies who eat big black grouper from the Bahamas). The bigger the more sketchy though, that's for sure.

Quote:
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I am also an avid spearfisher ( Fish | East of the Equator | M&M ). Your first photos are mostly pelagic fish, and they will be safe worldwide. I haven't done any pelagic shooting - did you use detachable floats? I have shot some big jacks, pompano and king mackerel that have taken me on quite interesting sleigh rides. I can't imagine being connected to that tuna in your picture!
For big Amberjack, Wahoo, Tuna, or Billfish - we always use a float system. To be frank, the fish will kill you or take your equipment otherwise. They're incredibly powerful, and we're just a guest in the aquatic realm.

I have some very vivid memories (and some funny video) of me being pulled behind a float system in the middle of the Ocean, off the coast of Venezuela. I was literally skipping across the water - and outpacing the boat. Good times

Quote:
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Teknav, in many parts of the world, grouper are very abundant and not threatened in any sense. Nor are they regulated outside of breeding season because of this. Even jewfish are plentiful. Since there is no way a Panamanian grouper is going to swim to Texas for mating, there is no problem inviting him home for dinner instead. These fish are not about to be extinct, although greediness in some parts of the world (Texas) have made them almost extinct in those areas. So "saving" them where they are abundant and not threatened does not help your dinner or diving experiences. Really - I have often pushed groupers out of the way to get a shot at a fish I was more interested in. And I see jewfish everywhere.

It is all relative to area.

Mark
Thanks for explaining that.

These forums are amazing for the wealth of knowledge shared, but I often avoid them because I tire of correcting people who seem to not even do a cursory Google search before telling you how much they know about your way of life. Cheers
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:33   #14
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

May 2013...

"Over Fishing Is Driving At Least 12% of ‘Grouper’ Species to Extinction

At least 12% of groupers – globally-important food fish species that live on coral and rocky reefs – face extinction, putting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people around the world at risk, finds a report published today by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission’s (IUCN SSC) Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group.

The overall percentage of threatened groupers could be much higher as there is insufficient data for about 30% of the species, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

The study points to overfishing and the booming international luxury seafood trade as major threats to the survival of some grouper species, and to the livelihoods of those who depend on them for food and income. Its authors call for urgent conservation and management efforts to prevent further declines of these species.

"The declines in some grouper fisheries are alarming," says Yvonne Sadovy, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group and lead author of the study. "Most of them are not managed at all and their natural ability to reproduce can’t keep up with increasing demand. The rapidly growing international trade in groupers further reduces their populations."

More than 300,000 tons of groupers – or 90 million individuals – were caught globally in 2009, mostly in Asia, where they are particularly sought-after for the luxury restaurant trade. Groupers are the foundation of the US$ 750 million international live reef fish market centered in Hong Kong and growing in mainland China, where consumers are ready to pay over US$ 200 per kilogram of the species. They are also important food fish in developing countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, where pressure to export reef fish is growing, according to the authors.

Groupers are among those species that are most vulnerable to fishing because of their longevity, late sexual maturation and the fact that many form large mating groups known as ‘spawning aggregations’. Despite their economic importance, few grouper fisheries are regularly monitored or managed, and many are in decline.

In the US Caribbean, the Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus), which is commonly fished during its brief aggregation periods, has been essentially wiped out. Of the several dozen well-documented breeding grounds, only two continue to support large numbers of the species, and these have also been considerably reduced. In Southeast Asia and the Pacific, several species are considered to be threatened by the international trade, including the Square-tailed Coral Grouper (Plectropomus areolatus), also often taken from its spawning aggregations.

"Overfishing is like mismanaging a bank account," says Matthew Craig, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group and one of the authors of the report. "The current fish population is our principle balance, hopefully earning interest in the form of new fish born. If those initial assets are continually withdrawn faster than the interest accumulates, the principle, that is the fish out there now, will be quickly depleted. It’s easy to see how rapidly we could lose all the money, or in this case, all of the fish."

Improved management by source countries with priority given to local food security considerations, as well as better monitoring and control of international trade are urgently needed to reduce threats to these species, according to the report.

The study was published in the journal Fish and Fisheries. It is based on data accumulated by experts over a period of 20 years."

This was a direct quote...

Mauritz
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:02   #15
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Re: Sailing/spearing (around the world)

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May 2013...

"Over Fishing Is Driving At Least 12% of ‘Grouper’ Species to Extinction
12% of grouper species have been threatened. That is not all grouper, and that is very, very location dependent. Also, to be clear - that is a bit of an alarmist headline. As noted:

Quote:
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More than 300,000 tons of groupers – or 90 million individuals – were caught globally in 2009, mostly in Asia, where they are particularly sought-after for the luxury restaurant trade.
Once again - a single species in a single geography is identified:

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In the US Caribbean, the Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus), which is commonly fished during its brief aggregation periods, has been essentially wiped out.
And to be clear, I've dove the Bahamas many times and harvested many grouper. But I've never, never (in the entirety of my life) pulled even a fraction of the fish out of the ocean as a net/long-line fisherman does in a couple of hours.

If you want to save the ocean, consider only eating fish that you yourself catch - without a doubt, commercial fishing (and shrimping) is to blame for overfishing. Additionally, if we want to treat the problem - rather than the symptom - you may want to start banging the drum about the overpopulation of our species and the effect that's having on the over-consumption of our natural resources.

I really do respect your desire to conserve the ocean, but your focus is misplaced and your initial shotgun blast (grouper are overfished to near-extinction) isn't even remotely close to accurate. A more educated stance would have taken into account: species, geography, and fishing method.

I'm out to do some more diving/spearing. My freezer is empty again.

Cheers
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