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Spearfishing/diving on STX or STT

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DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Hello all,

Looking for a new dive/spearfishing/lobstering buddy on either STX or STT. Shoot me a PM or reply here if interested!

Thanks!

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Topic starter Posted : February 13, 2013 11:24 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

The guys I work with go frequently. I'll ask them if they want company. Will post their response this week.

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Posted : February 14, 2013 12:17 am
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

ty

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Topic starter Posted : February 14, 2013 1:25 am
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

I wanna go!

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Posted : February 14, 2013 2:14 am
norman paperman
(@norman_paperman)
Active Member

Would like to hear a trip report if you go.

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Posted : February 15, 2013 10:22 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

Please do everyone a favor and just go after lobster and lion fish. I hear the lion fish taste good.
They other fish are getting scarce.

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Posted : February 16, 2013 2:24 pm
VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member

Are you on island, Don? I know a couple of guys who go regularly, but I don't think they would want to give their spots away without meeting you. And I agree with terry, go for lobsters and lion fish. Lion fish are reported to be very white and buttery, good for ceviche or in chunks for frying or whatever you want to do with it.

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Posted : February 16, 2013 3:06 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Are you on island, Don? I know a couple of guys who go regularly, but I don't think they would want to give their spots away without meeting you. And I agree with terry, go for lobsters and lion fish. Lion fish are reported to be very white and buttery, good for ceviche or in chunks for frying or whatever you want to do with it.

As long as you know how to catch, clean and cook the lion fish without killing yourself!

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Posted : February 16, 2013 10:18 pm
loucypher
(@loucypher)
Advanced Member

You can't eat lion fish caught on the southside of STT. Some kind of bacteria not found on the north side. Don't remember exactly what it is.

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Posted : February 16, 2013 10:57 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Ciguatera poisoning from reef fish. See below:

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ciguatera/

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/wilderness_ciguatera_toxin/article_em.htm

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Posted : February 17, 2013 11:42 am
roadrunner
(@roadrunner)
Trusted Member

What, having a dive buddy who moved to Arizona doesn't work for you? 🙂

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Posted : February 17, 2013 2:48 pm
VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member

Alana33, I must disagree with you about killing yourself trying to catch, kill, clean or eat a lionfish. Lionfish are VENOMOUS, not POISONOUS.

This is a fantastic article debunking the myths surrounding lion fish. Please read it so that you will no longer be perpetrating these myths.
http://lionfish.co/im-not-lyin-the-10-most-common-lionfish-myths-busted/
Thank you.

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Posted : February 17, 2013 2:51 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

"The venom found in the needle-sharp dorsal, pelvic and anal fins of a lionfish is NOT deadly to an otherwise healthy human being, though envenomation WILL cause an immense amount of localized pain, swelling and in some instances, blistering and infection if not treated properly.

It is possible for some people to have an allergic reaction to the venom, which comes with a host of potentially deadly complications resulting from anaphylactic shock, which could also be caused by any other serious allergy to bee stings or eating shellfish. Lionfish venom is a protein-based, neuromuscular toxin that can be denatured when cooked over 350 degrees for just a short period of time. Heat breaks the proteins down, which is why soaking the affected area in very hot water is also an effective first aid treatment for lionfish stings."

VISNORKELER: You still have to be very careful not to accidentally scratch yourself with the needle sharp fins, don't you?
This precaution is necessary when catching, cleaning and cooking, is it not?
If someone has an allergic reaction, it can be just as deadly as as a bee sting or other anaphylactic reactions to someone highly allergic.
All I am saying is be careful handling and take precautions.
If someone is not familiar with catching Lion Fish, they should probably stick to catching something else and report any sightings to F&W.

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Posted : February 17, 2013 3:33 pm
VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member

Alana, all I wanted to do was ask you to not claim that lionfish WILL kill you. Walking down the street COULD kill you. Staying in your house COULD kill you. ANYTHING can kill you. I mean, valar morghulis, right? Be careful. Of course, everyone should be careful. BUT a lionfish scratch is more likely to be quite painful, not kill you -- just like a bee sting! Painful, but unless you are allergic death is not imminent. And the article most definitely stated that eating the fish, raw or cooked, will also not kill you -- unless you are allergic to it -- like peanuts or shellfish or anything else that most of us are not allergic to. What you said was it would kill you if you didn't know what you were doing. And, while you could certainly hurt yourself, it probably won't kill you -- unless you are allergic to it and go into anaphalactic shock.

I've seen them out there. I don't carry a speargun, so I don't try to kill them. I report the sightings to as many agencies as I can. Including my friend who has experience and spearguns! I follow a good general rule of snorkeling/diving and that is don't touch anything. It could hurt you and you WILL hurt it.

My desire was to educate the misinformed. I'm going to leave this thread alone now.

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Posted : February 17, 2013 3:55 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Peace;)

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Posted : February 17, 2013 5:49 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

The lion fish needles don't scratch, they puncture you skin of worse. Know one guy that had one stick through his finger.
If you are very careful it is not a problem. I have killed over a hundred or more lion fish and have yet to get stuck.
If fishing for one, it would be a little harder to handle one. After spearing one, you can either just kill it with a knife and push it off, or I have a knife that also has a pair of scissors attached. Sometimes I will cut off the "feathers" looking fins that have the needles. then either kill it or feed it to the sharks.
I have been told that the venom is different than a bee sting, however there are probably some people who are allergic.
I have several friends how have been stuck and it seems that they react differently. Some have their finger of hand swell up really bad and some it is just an annoyance.
Hot water or heat in general will cause the venom to dissipate faster.
They are really a problem, and it is getting worse. My friends. The Hit or Miss divers killed over 750 last year by going out once a week if weather permits. Usually just 4 or 5 of us.
3 Years ago when they invasion started, I was there for 3 months and did 90 dives. Never saw a one. I would dive 3 or 4 days a week, but knew people who had seen them during this time period. Last year on one boat dive, with 10 or so people we killed 83.
Some areas like Cane Bay are kept pretty clear of them, due to so many divers but other less dove areas are really infested.

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Posted : February 17, 2013 7:55 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Please do everyone a favor and just go after lobster and lion fish.

Out of curiosity do you tell fisherman the same thing?

I ask because spearfishing seems to invoke a lot of emotion and people feel justified making requests like this when ironically its healthier for the ecosystem in general. There is no by-catch, no lines/hooks left underwater, nothing to get snagged on coral, no size limitations (you can see how big your target is), and we simply do not take the sheer volume of fish as hook and line fisherman do. Its a hell of a lot easier to toss fish after fish into your boat as opposed to swimming half a mile with them on a stringer.

I make this point because if I saw someone looking for a fishing buddy, it would never occur to me to ask them to restrict their catch to either lobster or a venomous fish harboring ciguatera.

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Topic starter Posted : February 18, 2013 5:05 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

I don't like the fact that the fisherman have over fished the reefs either.
In some of the healthier reef systems, fishing is restricted to a mile or more off shore.
The health of the reef depends on fish.
There are very few groupers around these waters anymore due to the over fishing. Groupers are one of the few natural predators of the lion fish.
You still see people fishing with gill nets even though it is illegal. There are many illegal fish traps out there as well as legal ones. I believe there is a limit on the number of fish traps (may be wrong) but the legal ones have a tag on them.

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Posted : February 18, 2013 8:27 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

Groupers are one of the few natural predators of the lion fish.

There are no natural predators of lionfish in the Atlantic/Caribbean. Snapper, eels, sharks may eat ones divers kill and feed to them, but nothing so far has started predating naturally upon them.

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Posted : February 18, 2013 9:39 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Groupers are one of the few natural predators of the lion fish.

There are no natural predators of lionfish in the Atlantic/Caribbean. Snapper, eels, sharks may eat ones divers kill and feed to them, but nothing so far has started predating naturally upon them.

You are correct. The caribbean has a shortage of wobbegongs lol. Not to mention the fact that I wouldnt eat a grouper off of the reef due to ciguatera.

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Topic starter Posted : February 18, 2013 10:26 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

The health of the reefs depends not really on the fish but the corals and water quality. As corals grow they create the reefs for small fish to hide and bigger fish to hunt. I'm not saying its not overfished but without the coral reefs the fish won't come. I've wondered since I've been here, it's it REALLY overfished or is it just the lack of a healthy reef system that keeps them away?? For me personally I feel so badly about the way the reefs look. I also think spearfishing is a more ecological way to self sustain than traps and nets. The key is moderation. Read up on the blue fin tuna 🙁 there's a new (rather old) method that many boats are adopting to catch them, pole fishing, as the tuna are nearing the endangered species list.

I spent hours reading the other night on reefs across the world. It's so very sad and literally makes me want to cry, yea I know maybe its silly to get emotional to some people but knowing what I know about corals and reef systems it just is terrible. Once coral starts declining its so very hard to get them back to healthy, even in my reef keeping experience it takes so much work, constant clean water and perfect stable temperatures to get a coral to rebound once "sick".

I will say that in my opinion you shouldn't target tangs/surgeonfish when fishing. These fish are responsible to eating the algae that grows and blocks coral polyps from spreading. They are extremely important to keeping the rocks clear for future coral polyps.

When u go to the beach, of course dont pollute, pick up the trash, make sure you wear reef safe sunscreen, and watch out where u put your feet and fins, every little bit helps.

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Posted : February 18, 2013 10:55 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

The health of the reefs depends not really on the fish but the corals and water quality. As corals grow they create the reefs for small fish to hide and bigger fish to hunt. I'm not saying its not overfished but without the coral reefs the fish won't come. I've wondered since I've been here, it's it REALLY overfished or is it just the lack of a healthy reef system that keeps them away?? For me personally I feel so badly about the way the reefs look. I also think spearfishing is a more ecological way to self sustain than traps and nets. The key is moderation. Read up on the blue fin tuna 🙁 there's a new (rather old) method that many boats are adopting to catch them, pole fishing, as the tuna are nearing the endangered species list.

I spent hours reading the other night on reefs across the world. It's so very sad and literally makes me want to cry, yea I know maybe its silly to get emotional to some people but knowing what I know about corals and reef systems it just is terrible. Once coral starts declining its so very hard to get them back to healthy, even in my reef keeping experience it takes so much work, constant clean water and perfect stable temperatures to get a coral to rebound once "sick".

I will say that in my opinion you shouldn't target tangs/surgeonfish when fishing. These fish are responsible to eating the algae that grows and blocks coral polyps from spreading. They are extremely important to keeping the rocks clear for future coral polyps.

When u go to the beach, of course dont pollute, pick up the trash, make sure you wear reef safe sunscreen, and watch out where u put your feet and fins, every little bit helps.

Not really even that- reef health is primarily dependent on:
1. Nitrate/Phosphate runoff. Fertilizer = algae = zooxanthellae dont get light, coral starve.
2. Temperature- elevated sea temperature makes the zooxanthellae evacuate the corals, effectively "bleaching" them.
3. Physical factors or heavy metals. Copper will devastate inverts like nothing else.

While a healthy population of herbivores helps, the real key is controlling the algaes food. Me skipping dinner has no benefit to reef health.

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Topic starter Posted : February 18, 2013 11:09 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

"Not really even that- reef health is primarily dependent on:
1. Nitrate/Phosphate runoff. Fertilizer = algae = zooxanthellae dont get light, coral starve.
2. Temperature- elevated sea temperature makes the zooxanthellae evacuate the corals, effectively "bleaching" them.
3. Physical factors or heavy metals. Copper will devastate inverts like nothing else.

While a healthy population of herbivores helps, the real key is controlling the algaes food. Me skipping dinner has no benefit to reef health."

Yes these things do affect the coral reef, but so does the lack of fish. As AandA2V1 stated the reef fish eat the algae. Lion fish if left unchecked will eat the fish not algae.
If you are eating the reef fish, That will effect the health of the reef.

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Posted : February 19, 2013 2:21 pm
Matt T
(@Matt_T)
Advanced Member

PM sent

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Posted : February 19, 2013 2:53 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

While a healthy population of herbivores helps, the real key is controlling the algaes food. Me skipping dinner has no benefit to reef health.

It's actually been shown that reefs with healthy populations of reef fish grazers (squirrelfish, triggerfish, surgeonfish, damselfish, boxfish, blennies and so on can remove 50-100% of the total algae on a reef. Fish are VERY important for keeping a reef clean. Regardless of the amount of runoff and nutrient excesses in the water, algae will outcompete coral for space at any time in any situation, unless the algae are kept in check. This is just a fact of biology that algae simply can grow far more easily than corals.

Also highly important for keeping algal growth down are urchins. They actually did an experiment in the VI back in the 70's that removed diadema (black spined urchins) from an isolated reef and within 4 months, algae had grown tenfold. Of course, then most the diadema died in the 80's due to disease, allowing algae to take over. Interestingly, in areas subjected to heavy fishing pressure like the VI, some of the fish that eat urchins and control the urchin population are over fished. When urchins are around at really high densities, it increases the competition for algae, so they will actually start eating coral too. When urchin populations are under control in a healthy ecosystem, they only eat algae which clears areas for coral to settle and grow. I don't think we have this problem of our urchin population not being controlled by fish, since the population is still recovering. But once it does recover and there are no fish? And in some areas around the island, there are simply urchins everywhere. So it may be happening on a very local level.

Basically the moral of the story is that there is not any one vastly more important species or events occuring on reefs--everything is in a balance and if you tip the balance in any one direction, bad things will happen. Should runoff and fertilizer dumping in the ocean be controlled? Yes. Is it important? Yes. But equally important are the fish, urchins, sea cucumbers, worms etc etc...

Yes, hunting for your own food is fun. However, when it comes to fish--do you really need to eat some particular fish? Will you die if you don't? Or is it just for entertainment? In that case, don't fish for species that are important and already in serious decline. Fish for lionfish, and that will help contribute to even having fish in 20 years.

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Posted : February 19, 2013 3:09 pm
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