Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spearfishing for Tarpon: You have got to be joking?

We are stunned.
This hit the blogosphere via Pete McDonald at Fishing Jones and comes from an alert posted on the Bonefish and Tarpon Unlimited website. Apparently some folks in Louisiana are making sport of spear fishing for tarpon and bragging about it. Pete says it best in his post:
As tarpon aren’t regarded as table fare, the practice of spearfishing for them is pure blood sport. I have no problem with spear fishing if the fish targeted is to be eaten, in season, and within regulation, but to kill a fish like a tarpon just to kill it…

From the posting:

Even as the last tarpon ‘kill’ tournament in Florida changes over to an all-release format, and the Mexican fishery turns more toward catch and release, it appears that tarpon conservation is not a high priority in some areas. Indiscriminate and wasteful harvest of this important gamefish should no longer be allowed.

It is clear that there are significantly fewer tarpon around now than there were 30 years ago. And it is likely that the killing of tarpon by recreational (and commercial) fishermen of yesteryear contributed to tarpon population declines. This is the principal reason that Florida, Texas and other southeastern US states have severely restricted the harvest of tarpon.

The message boards begin to buzz...

Links to coverage via Midcurrent and Moldy Chum.

**UPDATE** see text from the spearfishing group's own message board.

Just recovering from yesterday, the first dive of the day I shot intoa 150+lb. Tarpon. He pulled me into a pipe and was pulling really hardwhen all of a sudden he put it into Hyper-Gear. I was like holdingback a crewboat with 2-12 cylinder deisels. I didn't let go and ithurt. The spring slide ring I've been using for 20 years that hasnever let me down, let me down this time. The fish straightened thespring out and got my spear. I came up with the rope and a brokenfinger, the tip of my little finger. So I decided I had enough oftarpon for the day.Wil and Mark both shot into big (well over 100lb. tarpon) only to lose them also.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just so you guys know, this isn’t a popular thing to do down here in LA. I am a member of the Louisiana Council of Underwater Dive Clubs, and I can honestly say that there are probably under a dozen tarpon killed spearfishing every year. On top of that, tarpon aren’t a pressured species in LA due to the overabundance of edible gamefish here.

Rght or wrong, the number of tarpon killed spearfishing in LA pales in comparison to the catch and release mortality of tarpon fishing in Florida.

Just trying to help put things in perspective,

Chris Hartwell