Sustainable Spearfishing

Interview with Andrew Lewin from Speak Up For The Blue Podcast


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This episode is a chat about the concept of sustainability and how we can each get involved in looking after the marine environment. Speak Up For The Blue Podcast Host and self proclaimed Oceanpreneur Andrew Lewin joins me in a wide ranging conversation about spearfishing, sustainability and being more aware of ocean conservation efforts in general. If you spend time in the ocean, there are a few interesting discussion points in this interview including fisheries management, parrot fish impacts on reefs, previous research on the Mississippi plume that Andrew was involved in, spearfishing groups that remove invasive species and cutting through the noise around the word ‘sustainable’.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself but please share your thoughts about the episode with me on the Noob Spearo Facebook Community Group here.

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Sustainable Spearfishing conversation with Andrew Lewin


Sustainable Spearfishing Interview Highlights

7:00 Andrew Lewin introduction and background

12:00 Parrot fish Discussion

24:00 Studying the Mississippi River Plume in the Gulf of Mexico

29:00 What is your perspective of spearfishing and spearo’s?

32:40 What fisheries management strategies are effective and which are not?

43:00 Dynamite fishing and cyanide. Discussion about pressures on fisheries around the world.

45+ How spearo’s can contribute to marine conservation



Other Links and Articles Mentioned

  • 99 Tips To Get Better At Spearfishing Amazon (no pics) | Indiegogo On Demand
  • IN THE NEWS. Spearo’s rescued: a couple of blokes in the UK became stuck on some rocks at Wembury point due to a big rushing tide. They were successfully rescued by the Plymouth Coastguard RNLI. This one highlights the trouble you can get yourself into with current and tide. If you are diving a new spot find out from the locals about current and check the tide times and the size of the tide. If you have a large volume of water moving between tides it means that you will have a lot of run which isnt much fun! Full article here
  • This article is a look at how the abalone fishery closure has increased the number of guys learning spearfishing. He also highlights the present concerns about overabundance of purple urchins. Now Urchins or (Kina in New Zealand, Uni in Japan) are a delicacy but they require a gentle introduction as the taste is quite strong. So here are some basics for having a try yourself.
    1. Turn the urchin upside down and stick your knife in the hole and work it backwards and forwards using force rather than the blade (or you can break it open with the backend of you knife)
    2. Give it a rinse in salty water (on the day is best) and this will get rid of most of the crap)
    3. Get a teaspoon in there and scoop out the orange row and put in in a separate container.

    You can eat it exactly like that with no cooking or anything but its a string taste. Personally I like them most of the time although they do seem to change taste with water temp and i dont know what else. If you want to try it like that maybe you could have it with lemon and soy or even better keep it and try out this recipe ‘CHILLED SEA URCHIN AND FARRO PASTA – its super simple. Pretty much just cook the pasta and then add the urchin, sauce and some herbs together in a bowl then cook and combine.

    It looks delicious and you are helping the environment over there by utilizing this resource and correcting an imbalance in the local ecosystem there in California. Sea Urchin in general are a highly sustainable seafood but ask local people in your area first if you are not sure.

  • Recent research published in International Council for the Exploration of the Sea ICES MArine Science Journal covers an interesting topic.Spearfishing modulates flight initiation distance of fishes: the effects of protection, individual size, and bearing a speargunI think this article is interesting because it highlights a number of important factors.
    1. Spearfishing changes your body language. Holding a speargun changes the way fish perceive you. Is that because they can visually distinguish you have a weapon? Check out this article i will link up to think about it further.
    2. Also fish populations behavior changes when faced with regular spearfishing pressure. Now if you have been spearfishing one area for a long time and experience the summertime spearo phenomenon this is not news to you. This is why experienced guys head deeper and wider – they want to avoid spots that face regular spearo invasion. This also means that many fish populations can protect their numbers to an extent when faced with spearfishing pressure. However I read this article by Lebanese spearos who have smashed their local waters and simply changed tactics to capture more fish. In this article they directly talk about changing local spearos and other fisherman’s attitudes towards fishing practices but its not easy as their livelihoods depend on it.

    In this article they mention that in 2006 with local Hezbollah conflict the waters were not fished for one month and in that small amount of time they saw some recovery in fish populations. After reading this article it makes me feel grateful to fish Australian and New Zealand waters where fishing pressures are nowhere near as bad as the MED however we also want to stay proactive about keeping them good and even improving certain fish populations


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