looking for info on spearfishing on stt. know i can harvest lobsters with a snare, but can't find anything on spear regulations. does anyone on here do it or know anything about it? how hard is it to get equipment on-island, should i bring a gun with me or what? just looking for advice! thanks so much!
It is illegal to catch lobsters with a spear gun. Lobsters must be a certain size for you to take them and you cannot take females with eggs. If you spear them, you won't know these criteria until it's too late. But other than that, you can spear fish for most reef fish (just be careful about ciguatera which is a serious risk with reef fish).
I'm not a big proponent of spearfishing unless you are only taking one or two for food on a rare occasion...our waters are so overfished right now, with very few big individuals left. To me, it just doesn't seem worth it. Also, be careful where you shoot since you could damage corals, sponges, turtles etc if the spear goes wayward (marine species are having enough problems as it is).
Some dive shops sell spearguns and gear...at least they do in Stx, probably in Stt too)
Just want to re-emphasize what stxem mentioned about ciguatera.... it is chemical in nature so can't be "cooked" out of fish... and one single exposure (eatiing one contaminated fish) could leave you feeling severely debilitated for 6 months or so. To paraphrase Elmer Fudd... "Be vewwwy vewwwy careful..."
You could probably go into any knowledgeable dive shop and ask them which species carry ciguatera. From what I understand the toxin is carried in different species in different areas its best to ask the local spearos. I cant wait to get down there and do some bluewater hunting. Get out there and sling some steel 😎
Basically, ciguatoxin is a chemical waste product of microscopic algae called 'dinoflagellates' that inhabit coral reefs in tropical regions (between 35 degrees North and 35 degrees South) around the world. Ciguatoxin is absorbed into the flesh of fish that eat fish... that eat fish... that eat dinoflagellates. The chemical is not naturally eliminated, so the higher up the predatory ladder one goes the greater the concentrations. As a result, predatory fish near the top of the food chain that stay in or near tropical coral reefs are the dangerous fish to eat. Again, it is a chemical poison and not a bacterium or virus, so cooking fish does not affect toxicity.
Unfortunately various fish are improperly named or categorized in just about any locality, so making a clearly defined list is hazardous. However, ciguatera toxin is generally found in large predatory reef fish, most commonly barracuda, grouper, snapper ('real' snapper' such as red snapper), eel, amberjack or other jack fish, sea bass, and king or Spanish mackerel.
How do you tell if a fish in this group is contaminated? Well you can use a silver fork and look for tarnish... and get sick (you're right Yearasta, it is a wive's tale). Or follow the suggestions of the mental giants at Wikipedia and see if flies collect on the fish... and get sick. Or better yet... feed some of the fish to your cat to see if it gets sick (felines are said to be exceptionally sensitive to ciguatera)... and get sick (OK, full disclosure... I'm allergic to cats). Other than a laboratory-like test kit that makes ordering your fish dinner at a high-end restaurant look like a thrift-shop bargain, there is no way.
What are the symptoms? Within the first 6 to 24 hours you will experience abdominal problems including pain, vomiting, diarrhea and/or nausea. These symptoms are followed the same day or the next day with neuromuscular symptoms including tingling around the lips, abnormal or impaired skin sensations, "hot-to-cold reversal" (actually a condition known as 'cold allodynia', which is a burning sensation on contact with cold), vertigo, lack of muscle coordination, weakness and numbness, muscle pain, and itching. There may be respiratory paralysis. Death is rare, but has happened. Most patients recover, but the symptoms may be experienced for periods of a month or so to several years, with a typical duration of 6 to 12 months.
OK, fine... if you won't take Elmer Fudd seriously, at the very least, listen to Sargeant Phil Esterhaus. Be careful out there.
Sorry Yearasta... haven't been on island in WAYYYYYY too long and I guess I'm crankier than a lonely cheating Christiansted wife... 🙂 My comment was more directly pointed at noladiver's comment because it has been my experience that asking a dive shop for advice is likely to get you into trouble. The wife of a good friend of mine spent 6 months of her life suffering physical weakness that left her unable to go through a normal day without resting for several hours... all because she listened to the wrong advice from a dive shop 'expert'.
You did indeed say it was an old wives' tale and you wouldn't trust it. I was merely saying you were right. It is a pretty popular myth and kind of sounds plausible so some people actually think it works. I apologize for my tone. I'm sounding that way far too much lately.
I'll go take my meds now.
When you arrive, stop by the Fish and Wildlife office in Red Hook. They will be able to provide you with information on open and closed seasons, on the Marine Sanctuaries (where you may not fish) etc. And stay away from me when I am snorkeling as spear fishing is the one way to attract unwanted attention from predator fish. :-X