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New video about Spearfishing

white sea bass spearfishing

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#1 HookBuzz

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:28 PM

Wasnt sure how to embed this video we just wrapped up about spearfishing for White Sea Bass off the California coast.


#2 Steve Douglas

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 05:50 PM

The white sea bass has only, in the last few years, bounced back from almost extinction on the LA & San Diego coast. It breaks my heart to see you spearing and killing them now that they are on the road to recovery, I stopped spearing fish back in the late 80's as I once looked around and bemoaned the lack of game. I made the decision then that I would no longer contribute to the decline. Haven't eaten sea food since and ask for chicken on liveaboards though I will be a hypocrite once in a while with a Tuna sandwich.
You also mention the blue sharks. I used to be one of the wranglers for a Blue/Mako shark operation where divers would be in a cage while, we, in our metal shark suits, would tease them in and hand feed them mackeral while the photographers and videographers would film. That industry is long dead as the shark population also declined to the point of bringing people out and never seeing a single one. While your film is a well produced advertisement for your business, I hate to see this activity grow.
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#3 Timmoranuk

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 06:44 PM

I'm afraid that I'm pretty uncomfortable with the content and message of this film. Whilst I agree with Steve about the production quality I believe this activity does not sit well amongst the majority of underwater photographers and I'd certainly prefer not to see more of this ilk on Wetpixel.
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#4 HookBuzz

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:24 AM

Im sorry you guys feel that way but we are recreational spearfishermen and follow all the rules and regulations put forth by the Sate of California. I appreciate the comments about how you feel. We do not take more than we can eat and this type of diving is not an easy task. I have performed over 25 free dives myself this season and only taken 1 fish! We are not killers or fish but we do hunt for food. We respect and admire these fish as we do the ocean and all the things in the sea.

#5 blaisedouros

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:07 AM

Im sorry you guys feel that way but we are recreational spearfishermen and follow all the rules and regulations put forth by the Sate of California. I appreciate the comments about how you feel. We do not take more than we can eat and this type of diving is not an easy task. I have performed over 25 free dives myself this season and only taken 1 fish! We are not killers or fish but we do hunt for food. We respect and admire these fish as we do the ocean and all the things in the sea.


While spearing videos may not be the usual fare for Wetpixel, I think it's too bad that everyone automatically assumes spearfishermen are murderous psychopaths intent on destroying the ocean, when the exact opposite is often true. It's worth investigating whether the fisherman is hunting responsibly before getting out the feathers and heating up the tar.

#6 HookBuzz

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 05:43 PM

@Blaisdouros I appreciate the positive feedback. And Im not upset by the comments. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Im somewhat new to this site so I hope I didnt offend anyone. My apologies if the video came off that way.

#7 DeanB

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 10:41 PM

Rather this than long line or dynamite destruction and at least they are eating their catch and it's not just a sport thing like other cowardly traditional pursuits! ... Obviously the species needs to be sustainable ... :)
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#8 Timmoranuk

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:17 AM

Hi Blaise, I don't think either Mike's or my post was akin to "tarring and feathering" ;-) but were only reactions and responses to an activity which is not normally showcased here on Wetpixel and would seem be at odds with best practise for underwater photography i.e. touch nothing leave ony bubbles and take only photographs.

Clearly this is a business operation and its success will largely be dependent on client footfall where the 'take' will necessarily be higher than from just one man's sport. I absolutely agree that spearfishing is a highly selective activity and has little general environmental impact, when compared with commercial fishing. However, targeting trophy fish will have a negative impact and the evidence of this can readily be seen in the Mediterranean.

The Wetpixel community is passionately concerned with conservation and these days conservation is also closely allied with management. For example where I live in Wales, there are annual culls of fallow deer in order to maintain a healthy and viable population. I am sure we are not of the type who mindlessly decry all and any form of animal husbandry without attempting to understand the rationale.

Nevertheless, I am uneasy about this footage being contributed here and a more appropriate vehicle would have been Deeperblue where the 'spearo' community hang-out and who also enjoy that descriptive title...
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#9 blaisedouros

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:35 AM

Hi Blaise, I don't think either Mike's or my post was akin to "tarring and feathering" ;-) but were only reactions and responses to an activity which is not normally showcased here on Wetpixel and would seem be at odds with best practise for underwater photography i.e. touch nothing leave ony bubbles and take only photographs.

Clearly this is a business operation and its success will largely be dependent on client footfall where the 'take' will necessarily be higher than from just one man's sport. I absolutely agree that spearfishing is a highly selective activity and has little general environmental impact, when compared with commercial fishing. However, targeting trophy fish will have a negative impact and the evidence of this can readily be seen in the Mediterranean.

The Wetpixel community is passionately concerned with conservation and these days conservation is also closely allied with management. For example where I live in Wales, there are annual culls of fallow deer in order to maintain a healthy and viable population. I am sure we are not of the type who mindlessly decry all and any form of animal husbandry without attempting to understand the rationale.

Nevertheless, I am uneasy about this footage being contributed here and a more appropriate vehicle would have been Deeperblue where the 'spearo' community hang-out and who also enjoy that descriptive title...


I certainly didn't intend to accuse you of tarring and feathering--your comment was measured and reasonable, and didn't use the words "murderous" or "psychopaths" either :) Please construe my comments as illustrative hyperbole only.

My point, to clarify, is that I believe that there's a place for sport hunters and sport fishermen in the conservation community, and many of them are just as committed as imaging enthusiasts to a healthy and productive ocean. I've seen photographers charge through a sea fan to get the shot they want...which to my mind is just as bad as someone taking fish irresponsibly.

Perhaps the feedback that HookBuzz can take away is that highlighting a conservation-focused mindset in future spearfishing media might open a few minds to an oft-maligned group in the underwater community.

#10 Steve Douglas

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:30 AM

Agreed, I heard no one call any one a psychopathic killer. My very first post certification dive was with a spear in hand because that is what my more experienced dive buddies were in to at the time in 1983. We ate everything we caught as well but when I saw the decline in marine life in the late 80's I just stopped the activity and put the stalking skills I learned when hunting to use in taking video instead. At the time, white sea bass was practically extinct tho in all that time, when hunting, I never shot a single one. There weren't any to shoot. Currently, the white sea bass is only now coming back from the brink, thus my objection.

Dean B.- good point but let's look at the larger scale. The Asian and other countries who catch and kill whales, shark fins and other marine life also eat what they catch. Go to any food market over there and you will see a ton. Yes, the fishermen make money off their catch, but, if I follow your point, at least the catch is being eaten and not killed for sport. Doesn't make it right, does it?

At any rate, at least HookBuzz has begun a healthy discussion of the issue.
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#11 DeanB

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 11:24 AM

If the Asian country's had to snorkelled and used spear guns, spears or a few fishing rods then it would have a much lesser impact than 'commercial' fishing/hunting! ... As you pointed out Steve if Spear fishing becomes popular and very profitable then it will tip the scale and species will decline due to the incline in this popularity hence 'maybe' a quota? And as Tim touched on the Med has had certain species of fish drop dramatically in numbers due to spear fishing... It's all about education and limits

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#12 HDVdiver

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 01:45 PM

It's tough times for spearo's given the environmental sensitivities of most divers these days. The video brought back distant memories from the last century...and that's where this "sport" belongs.

Makes me feel better about watching some divers affectionately patting a Whale Shark...:P

#13 kmo_underwater

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 04:25 PM

I'm a keen spearo, but have to say I'm not surprised by this reaction. This thread gives a pretty clear indication of how a few of the board members would feel about spearfishing:
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=47117