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DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Herbivores, both invert and vert are a key component of reef health- I completely agree.

Everything I catch I clean and eat. I take no more than what I need.
Based on your logic, if you buy fresh fish from a local fisherman or grocery store, enjoy sushi at dashi, or fresh fish from any restaurant, you are contributing to the decline of the reef and should not do so. If you saw a topic here about where to buy fresh local fish, would you chime in and urge people not to do so?

I made this thread looking for dive/spearfishing buddies, not as a platform for people to voice their opinions. If you dont want to join, thats fine, but its silly to hop in a thread and lecture someone about their hobby.

On the upside, for every fish caught, 3-4 lionfish get killed on the dive, so my hands are clean 🙂

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Topic starter Posted : February 19, 2013 4:31 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

I'm sorry but the water quality is the most important factor for a reefs health. All the fish, urchins, worms etc are a by product of a healthy reef system. They do not exist (metaphorically) without the reefs. Several species of urchins are actually very bad for reefs, instead of targeting the green algaes they target the coraline algae (the purple stuff) which green algea cant really grow on. More coralins, less green undesirable algea will grow. Coraline algae is a calcium based algae and is also effected by phosphate and nitrate issues and of course needs the right range of Ca levels to grow. Fish do help keep the algae off but if the water quality is poor the corals will not grown in the first place. Runoff of ANY kind is detrimental to the corals. Right now corals are dying all over the world, reefs are bleaching and being ruined and its NOT because the lack of fish, it's because of US. Our trash, our pollution, our run off of pesticides, our WAPA dumping in crap, our Cruzian factory dumping in. I'm not a marine biologist but I've spent well over 10 years in the reef keeping hobby, ran a club of over 100 people and propagated several species to repopulate reefs, donate to large public aquariums and share with several mariculture locations in the south pacific. Mostly Acropora species. Good friend of mine Bob Fenner is very active in mariculture facilities and has several books out.

I'm surprised I don't see more involvement from the UVI, I looked on the website and couldn't find a place to volunteer for clean ups, or for educational volunteers. I know that there was quite a bit of involvement from SEA on STX including propagating racks off Cane Bay. I'd love to help in any way possible so let me know of any of you see anything.

I'm a huge reef enthusiast, but I don't think there is anything wrong with spearfishing for food. It's done in moderation, with no by catch. As long as no one goes tromping around on the corals (what's left) and doesn't use any form of chemicals to stun the fish. You want to get discusted? Cyanid is STILL being used to catch fish in some places, makes me want to puke.

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Posted : February 19, 2013 5:11 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Over the past 250 years, humans have pumped increasing amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. While science and industry scramble to understand the full impact, oceans continue to absorb as much as a quarter - approximately 530 billion tons - of this excess gas.

Extra CO2 increases acidity, reducing the amount of calcium carbonate in the water. Shell fish and coral reef, which rely on this mineral to build their shells and skeletons, are especially vulnerable to this process. Many larger fish rely on tiny marine snails and coral for food and shelter, so the effects of ocean acidification reverberate up the food chain, further depleting already struggling fish stocks.

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Posted : February 19, 2013 5:22 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

Herbivores, both invert and vert are a key component of reef health- I completely agree.

Everything I catch I clean and eat. I take no more than what I need.
Based on your logic, if you buy fresh fish from a local fisherman or grocery store, enjoy sushi at dashi, or fresh fish from any restaurant, you are contributing to the decline of the reef and should not do so. If you saw a topic here about where to buy fresh local fish, would you chime in and urge people not to do so?

I made this thread looking for dive/spearfishing buddies, not as a platform for people to voice their opinions. If you dont want to join, thats fine, but its silly to hop in a thread and lecture someone about their hobby.

On the upside, for every fish caught, 3-4 lionfish get killed on the dive, so my hands are clean 🙂

I was just clarifying some biological issues that other people had brought up. Not trying to lecture, just providing information. And yes, I might chime in on another thread when people are providing misinformation. The wonderful thing about science is it is true whether you believe it or not. Edited to say: And just one more thing because I can't help myself: -the "its just me, its just one fish, what difference does it make?" True, one person fishing sustainably is fine and won't make a big dent. But 100 people thinking the same thing? 1000? Day after day? It adds up. Too often, people think as individuals and fail to recognize the consequences of multiple individual's acting individually. Same thing with voting. Carbon emissions. Consumption in general. I'm not saying that I don't do this and I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I think trying to understand the scope and impact of human behavior is at least a step in the right direction.

And no, I don't eat non sustainable fish or local fish. It is something I feel strongly about and conduct myself according to those principles.

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Posted : February 19, 2013 5:28 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

I'm sorry but the water quality is the most important factor for a reefs health. All the fish, urchins, worms etc are a by product of a healthy reef system. They do not exist (metaphorically) without the reefs. Several species of urchins are actually very bad for reefs, instead of targeting the green algaes they target the coraline algae (the purple stuff) which green algea cant really grow on. More coralins, less green undesirable algea will grow. Coraline algae is a calcium based algae and is also effected by phosphate and nitrate issues and of course needs the right range of Ca levels to grow. Fish do help keep the algae off but if the water quality is poor the corals will not grown in the first place. Runoff of ANY kind is detrimental to the corals. Right now corals are dying all over the world, reefs are bleaching and being ruined and its NOT because the lack of fish, it's because of US. Our trash, our pollution, our run off of pesticides, our WAPA dumping in crap, our Cruzian factory dumping in. I'm not a marine biologist but I've spent well over 10 years in the reef keeping hobby, ran a club of over 100 people and propagated several species to repopulate reefs, donate to large public aquariums and share with several mariculture locations in the south pacific. Mostly Acropora species. Good friend of mine Bob Fenner is very active in mariculture facilities and has several books out.

I'm surprised I don't see more involvement from the UVI, I looked on the website and couldn't find a place to volunteer for clean ups, or for educational volunteers. I know that there was quite a bit of involvement from SEA on STX including propagating racks off Cane Bay. I'd love to help in any way possible so let me know of any of you see anything.

I'm a huge reef enthusiast, but I don't think there is anything wrong with spearfishing for food. It's done in moderation, with no by catch. As long as no one goes tromping around on the corals (what's left) and doesn't use any form of chemicals to stun the fish. You want to get discusted? Cyanid is STILL being used to catch fish in some places, makes me want to puke.

Nature Conservancy is the agency growing coral, not SEA. they have sites all over island--the site at cane bay is the only one open to the public.

Check out http://www.uvi.edu/sites/uvi/Pages/VIMAS-StThomas_and_StJohn.aspx?s=CO
Unfortunately the person at UVI -STT for VIMAS just left island. I don't know when they will replace her. Not sure about STT, but on STX there are lots of cleanup events by SEA, VIMAS and others. Find their Facebook pages because it seems that people are annoucing events on Facebook more and more often.

I understand about water quality and reefs. I am a marine biologist with 12+ years in my field.:-) However, the VI is not at that point yet where the water is so polluted that reefs won't grow. Some areas, perhaps. Most areas, no. Our biggest problems for the reef right now (before ocean acidification, which Alana so rightly mentioned, completely takes over if CO2 emissions are not controlled) are over-fishing, some sedimentation issues, water temperatures in the summer, urchin loss (specifically the species Diadema antillarum, not other species), the loss of Acropora palmata on the fringing reef and deeper Acropora cervicornis fields. Oh, and lion fish! Duh!

AndA--I totally respect your experience and dedication. It's wonderful to see someone with a passion for the marine world.
I'll stop commenting now and get off Don's thread. Sorry about that 🙂

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Posted : February 19, 2013 5:42 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Herbivores, both invert and vert are a key component of reef health- I completely agree.

Everything I catch I clean and eat. I take no more than what I need.
Based on your logic, if you buy fresh fish from a local fisherman or grocery store, enjoy sushi at dashi, or fresh fish from any restaurant, you are contributing to the decline of the reef and should not do so. If you saw a topic here about where to buy fresh local fish, would you chime in and urge people not to do so?

I made this thread looking for dive/spearfishing buddies, not as a platform for people to voice their opinions. If you dont want to join, thats fine, but its silly to hop in a thread and lecture someone about their hobby.

On the upside, for every fish caught, 3-4 lionfish get killed on the dive, so my hands are clean 🙂

I was just clarifying some biological issues that other people had brought up. Not trying to lecture, just providing information. And yes, I might chime in on another thread when people are providing misinformation. The wonderful thing about science is it is true whether you believe it or not.

And no, I don't eat non sustainable fish or local fish. It is something I feel strongly about and conduct myself according to those principles.

You're consistent- I respect that. No qualms here :).

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Topic starter Posted : February 19, 2013 6:04 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Stxem, respect ya back! My boyfriend and I talked in length today about why I should get a degree in marine biology, it really is my passion. Where can I see or get info on the water quality? I'm just interested, you shoulda seen me three times a week REALLY geeking out with all my testing kits, and my meticulous records. It was a real obsession, I miss it, especially because I haven't found a great spot with much coral but then again we've only gone to the more know beaches and just from shore. I don't miss all the gear and the electric bill! Chiller, huge protein skimmer, calcium reactor, phosban reactor, 800 watts of metal halide light, not to mention it was all plumbed behind the wall into the "reef room" and into the attic to the RO DI 5 stage top off water system lol! Here a pic of my system that's kinda old before everything really grew in.

I had a REAL bad FL Ricordea addiction and propagated those weekly.

And some of my fav pics: had to share!





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Posted : February 19, 2013 11:22 pm
artmutt
(@artmutt)
Advanced Member

I love how this topic started and where it ended. Way to hijack a users thread. I hope he found someone.

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Posted : February 20, 2013 9:56 am
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Yea sorry for the hijack Don, did u go this week yet? Been rough out there it seems.

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Posted : February 20, 2013 5:28 pm
Matt T
(@Matt_T)
Advanced Member

I agree with the posters on all the issues affecting the reef. It is not one issue but a combination of many that are contributing to the decline. Runoff, sedimentation, algae growth, removal of important species on the reef, lack of predatory fish like snapper and shark, and the list goes on.

As a freedive spearfisherman aka spearo, I agree with DonExodus- we are the lowest impact type of fishing that exists. Furthermore, we are able to selectively choose which fish we harvest. I have refrained from spearing fish due to their size being either too big or too small. A fisherman is not able to make this choice from the surface with a hook and line.

All you have to do is go to Deep Breath in La Reine where the fisherman fill up their SCUBA tanks and take a look at their catch. They are very indiscriminate in the type of fish they harvest and the quanatity. The have coolers full of reef fish like doctor fish, olewife, grunts, porgies, hinds, squirrelefish, etc. on a daily basis. I am talking 50 gallon coolers rampacked with fish. Lets not even talk about conch and lobster. And they are harvesting with SCUBA tanks, nets, and traps- very unfair adavntage if you ask me. I freedive only.

A good day for me on the other hand will be a snapper or two, maybe a mackeral (which are pelagic and not reef dwelling), and perhaps a bar jack. There are many days that I return empty handed. Not because I don't see any fish, but because I will only shoot certain types of fish and certain sizes. Also, spearfishing is more akin to hunting. When I have successfully made a dive to say 50' holding my breath, pursued a fish, speared it, and returned to the surface with the fish, it is an exhilerating feeling. But like the Indians and other native peoples, I immediatly give thanks to the fish for giving its life so that my family may eat.

I truly love all the fish in the sea, but I don't think this is the case for a majority of the local fisherman. When I die I hope to be buried at sea with no coffin or covering. I want to be eaten by fish!

Its time spearfishing lost its bad wrap.

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Posted : February 20, 2013 5:54 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Well put Matt. Be very careful with eating bar jack though- that is the most common cause of ciguatera on STT.

AA- I finished up my Nitrox cert late on monday, so didnt get to go in the water. Next monday though!

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Topic starter Posted : February 20, 2013 6:01 pm
Matt T
(@Matt_T)
Advanced Member

Yes, good point on the cig. Although, I have eaten many fish that locals and frenchies have said "ya gwaan catch fish poison if ya eat dat dere". I have eaten many "cig prone" fish including small cudas, horseye jacks, and larger snappers. I think some people are more suceptible to it and it also depends on the area the fish was harvested.

If I have doubts I give some to my cats and wait a day. If the cats eat it and no sign of illness, thats good enough for me.

All fish I successfully harvest get eaten. They are either eaten whole or filetted and the heads go into fish soup. Anything remaining goes to the compost pile for the garden.

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Posted : February 20, 2013 6:18 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Not a very nice thing to do to your kitties!

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Posted : February 20, 2013 6:49 pm
Matt T
(@Matt_T)
Advanced Member

Well so far they have never gotten sick! And I love my cats, but better them than me. I have also heard cats wont eat fish with cig. They also say you can put it on an ant hill and if the ants don't eat its no good. I also heard about a test you can do with a penny and it turns a certain color or something...

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Posted : February 20, 2013 7:08 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Well put Matt. Be very careful with eating bar jack though- that is the most common cause of ciguatera on STT.

AA- I finished up my Nitrox cert late on monday, so didnt get to go in the water. Next monday though!

What time do you think? Mind if I tag along and watch and maybe learn some? Maybe snap a few UW pics? Hopefully I can keep up.

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Posted : February 20, 2013 10:29 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

AA: I live on STX Mon-Th, STT Fri-Mon. Ill be moving to STT full-time next month. You're on STT yes?

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Topic starter Posted : February 20, 2013 11:35 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Yep STT.

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Posted : February 20, 2013 11:52 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

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Topic starter Posted : February 21, 2013 2:44 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

Yep STT.

When did you move from STX to STT?

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Posted : February 21, 2013 2:06 pm
norman paperman
(@norman_paperman)
Active Member

Back to the OP.....please give us a trip report when you go, I would love to hear about it as I am fellow spearo myself.

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Posted : February 21, 2013 9:46 pm
DonExodus
(@DonExodus)
Advanced Member

Back to the OP.....please give us a trip report when you go, I would love to hear about it as I am fellow spearo myself.

You live on stt?

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Topic starter Posted : February 21, 2013 10:44 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Back to the OP.....please give us a trip report when you go, I would love to hear about it as I am fellow spearo myself.

I just moved to STX & want to spearo myself after getting settled in a bit, any good starting points for info?

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Posted : February 22, 2013 3:59 am
norman paperman
(@norman_paperman)
Active Member

DonExodus....no I don't live in VI but spent a lot of time there years past. I used to frequent this forum quite often years back. I just got back from a one year stint in Marshall Islands South Pacific and did a little spearfishing there also.

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Posted : February 22, 2013 6:43 pm
St X
 St X
(@st_x)
Advanced Member

I love spearfishing and agree that its one of the more reef-conscious methods of gathering food, but please do all of us a favor and refrain from spearfishing on dive sites. That's where the tourists come to see all the pretty fish and lobsters! Also, find out about size limits and restrictions before puling the trigger.
Sorry to add to the threadjack, but this is a big big deal to me.
If someone wants to go to some non-dive site fishing spots, count me in!

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Posted : February 22, 2013 10:39 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

It is good to educate oneself about what is legal to take, when and where and size limits if you are new to islands.
An absolute no-no would be a female lobster with eggs regardless of the size.
There are also protected areas where no spearfishing is allowed under any circumstances such as STJ/National Park waters.

Here's a link that might prove helpful: http://www.vinow.com/general_usvi/more_info/fishing/usvifishingregulations.php
It is illegal to spear lobsters. BVI has strict regulations so best accquaint yourselves with the regulations and laws.

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Posted : February 23, 2013 1:45 pm
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