Antony Dunnes’ Reply to Hole-in-the-Wall cottage owner.

Tuesday 23 July 2002

To “Disgruntled Hole-in-the-Wall cottage owner” and other interested parties, from

While I understand your concerns about the holding of the comp in the area, I’d just like to clear up a few points that you raised that I feel are misrepresented:

If you see instances of illegal activity, take action against the perpetrator, take photos etc - by not doing something active against it you appear to be “allowing” it to continue. As a spearo I also take it personally when others do things that tarnish the public’s view of the sport. Please try and get some instances of proof of “blatant disregard of ecological rules” as this would strengthen your case substantially and we would at least be able to help in preventing it from occurring again.

The 1999 comp is regarded by yourself as “a murder of fish stocks with no regard to limits” - do you have any idea as to the numbers of the various species groupings that were taken that were over the limit? The rules are that all catches must be made in accordance with the relevant authority’s limits (NMLS I think..) on penalty of disqualification. If you do have info on persons and their catches that were over the limits I would be very interested to hear about them as that then constitutes proof of transgressions as you say. The fish are shot during the day and only after the weigh-in, which does often continue into the hours of darkness especially at that time of year, will the fish be available for collection.The individual divers have to surrender their catch to the organising body. No personal gain issues are relevant here. As far as impact on the local’s catches go, around 50% of the catch, in numbers as seen from the comp result details, consists of fish generally not landed on hook and line such as Bank Steenbras (Natal Fingerfin), Cape Knifejaw and John Brown etc.

You say that spearos will continually shoot larger fish of the species they have already, my answer, as a competitor in that and other Nationals comps, is that you may do that once or twice but the increase in points that you then achieve is very small - much smaller that shooting another species that, as yet, you do not have in your bag. The points system works like this: one point is awarded for the fish being above the minimum weight and of the correct species, thereafter it is a point per kg. So if you shoot one fish of 2kg it will amount to 1+2=3 points. If you then shoot another of even 1kg more it gets you to 4 points - an increase of only 1 point! where if you shot another fish, of a species that you are lacking, of only 1kg it will increase your points by 2 points so generally it is far more point efficient to try to utilise your efforts by shooting more species than “upgrading” your current catch. Also, once you have opted to shoot the “upgrade”, as luck will have it, a good size, new species will likely then present itself to you!! Ooopppsss!!

The ban on spearing within the competition area applies only to competitors and their other team members as this would then give them a chance to influence the outcome of the comp unfairly, it is, surely, obvious that people not involved in the comp would still be free to continue in the manner that they have until then. SASA have detailed records of past comp catches and also of the previous comp held there which would allow them to compare that one and this year's one quite well. I look forward to seeing if there is any real difference in the catches made, as, I would imagine, would yourself and other cottage owners in the Hole in the Wall area (I seem to recall that catches made during the last comp and the previous comp held there differed very little), until then lets try and be objective and proactive in the observation and prevention of transgressions.

Best regards,
Anthony Dunne