I wouldn't normally have this sort of thing on my blog, but if people get carried away like they do, it could potentially threaten the prospect of food on the table for us.
And it would take away that feeling of joy for Graeme.
|Image from Guy Thornycroft|
There are calls to have a ban on spearfishing in Cabbage Tree Bay at Norah Head on the NSW Central Coast (Australia) and according to this piece in the Express Advocate, support for the ban is growing.
Let's have a closer look and see if we can read with an open mind or better still, look at the problem from both sides of the fence – actually put ourselves in the shoes on one side and the fins on the other.
So there is a new ramp going in at Norah Head next year, which will increase boat traffic. As such, officials are concerned about safety. Fair enough. There have, apparently, been 'real issues with teenagers and their unsafe use of spearguns in a very popular boating and swimming area'. I assume this refers to the same spot.
If the issue is with the unsafe use of spearguns by a few, then surely we should be sorting out that problem with those few. Don't penalise the greater spearing community. A speargun is a dangerous thing if misused, as is a filleting knife or a cricket bat... If you see a fisherman wielding a fishing knife in an unsafe way near crowds, do you ban fishing? If you see teenagers in a playground using a cricket bat in an unsafe way near crowds, do you ban cricket? You get the idea.
If the increased boat traffic from the new ramp is the problem then a) look at putting in channels for the boats to come and go using marker buoys, for example or b) if you are going to ban someone from this area, then it should be everyone: swimmers, scuba divers and spearos (spearfisherman) alike.
All spearos I know and dive with are sensible, and we dive with a float and flag. We are also comfortable and experienced in the water, therefore are mostly some of the safest people using the waterways, unlike the holiday-only snorkelers and once-a-year boaties who will be using this ramp.
Areas like this are important for young spearos to get in the water in a safe and sheltered environment. If you start banning areas like this, you will force the younger ones or those new to the sport to learn in places out of their depth (excuse the pun).
Or is this another way for ill-informed bodies to get their way and ban a sport which a lot of people commonly regard as dangerous and plundering our oceans of its valuable resources? What do I mean? Spearfishing is one of the most selective and sustainable forms of fishing. In the majority, spearos identify the species and size of the particular fish first, then catch what they need. I am also a line fisherman (though not so much nowadays), and you only make the call to keep a fish once you have it in your hands, releasing the smaller ones and hoping they survive. Don't get me wrong; line-fishing is extremely selective and sustainable when done ethically, like most do. It's just not as selective and sustainable as spearfishing.
Don't get me started on commercial operations.
Spearfishermen. We're probably greener, more concerned with the environment and we look after it more than most. After all, we constantly see the beauty of what there is to protect under the water.
Think about it and don't just jump on the bandwagon.
Tricia and Jane!
Please can you both email me: findingthatplacecalledhome(at)gmail(dot)com
Hoping you both have a magical day at Amazement in the Yarramalong Valley. A genuine thank you to everyone else who commented and entered.