Spearfishing and the Environment - Are they at odds?

There is often a notion that spearfishing is against preservation of the environment, and hence is frowned upon by many people. In my view, responsible spearfishing is just like rod and line fishing and even better in some aspects.


Among the objections against spearfishing is that it is wasteful because people kill fish, and that it ruins coral reefs.


Spearfishing is selective in the sense that you only shoot the fish you want to catch. Species and sizes that are undesirable are not targets at all, as it is in rod and line fishing, or other forms, such as nets and traps.

Because of its very nature, one cannot even spear fish beyond a certain size and thickness, and hence the young fish are left alone to grow.

As for the damage to the corals, there is a minimal degree of it that occurs. The spear point is only one centimeter or so in diameter and would not harm much more than its own size. Besides, spearfisherman do not like to shoot in situations that would get their spear or its spearhead would get stuck or lost. Even hitting the coral would make it blunt and not able to penetrate the fish.

It is all about attitude: I once overheard a conversation in a Scuba diving shop where the macho customer wanted to buy a hammer so he can break down the corals around a fish when he spears it! I saw photos of Scuba divers who do not spearfish etching their name on corals!


Here are some guidelines for being a responsible spearfisherman.

  • Only shoot the fish you would be able to eat.
  • Do not shoot fish so as to give them as presents to friends and neighbors.
  • Alternate between species, so as not to put pressure on 'desirable' ones alone.
  • Be careful with corals when navigating your way around. Avoid colored (i.e. live) corals.
  • Do not collect souvenirs of live sea shells, live corals, ...etc.
  • Try to collect junk that could be dangerous, such as plastic bags, left over fishing line.
  • Enjoy the scenery, the ecosystem, the creatures, the marvels you see.



spearfishing education

Dear khaled, I really like your opinion and I personally believe that it is a fact. people should be more educated about the subject, sadly in Saudi Arabia most people do not have proper knowledge about the subject as an example I personally know many divers that spearfish while diving (not free dive or snorkeling) which is against Saudi laws for good reasons such as that you can stay longer under water and will make it much easier to catch big fish and more in numbers as you probably know that spear fishing is the art of waiting.
Best regards,

Responsible spear fisher

spearfishing with scuba (dive tanks)

I often find guys spearfishing with scuba gear. Sometimes a "team" of guys sweeping down a wreck.

This use of tanks is not in the true "spirit"of spearfishing because it takes no diving "skill"- it is like hunting for lions in a zoo where the lions are in the cage and cannot run.

I have witnessed spearos hunting on a night dive and placing the spear about 10 cm from the "sleeping" fish - this is not sport guys - it is the destruction of species. The spearos that hunt with scuba, kill all the big reef fish - which means they kill all the prime breeding fish. No more fish - no babies. This is happening, I notice it and I have only been diving for 4 years - friends who have been diving for longer say this depletion of big reef fish is very noticable.

Now what I say next is not going to be liked but it is true - in general, Saudi folk do not care about their environment and kill anything and everything that comes their way (except camels, goats, sheep)- be it animal, fish or insect. Their is no respect for crteation and their is not concept or idea about conservation. Their behaviour redlects this. Saudi is trying to encourage tourism and eco tourism - diving could be a big drawcard - but the dummies with spearguns are completely wiping out the attraction that the tourism committee are advertising.

So Saudi spearos - stop destroying your beautiful marine heritage by indiscriminate overkilling using scuba. Spearfishing is a sport and can be practiced, but it should be done while "free diving"- but then most of you will find that to much hard work - and some of you are to dumb ass stupid to care about the marine life or any conservation efforts.

By the way - it is illegal to spearfish with scuba in Saudi - I do believe correct behaviour and truthfulnes and respect and honourable actions are prescribed to you from a young age - so what happened?