Monthly Spearfishing Report March 2003

March 2003

Where are the Cuda

Well like all of you I’m sure I am tired about debating the lack of cuda this year it seems that we are just going to have to carry on trying. The action I have heard of seems to have been concentrated in the Blythdale/Zinkwazi area, a little at No.1 and at Aliwal Shoal. The action has been short lived with one days diving being no indication to the next days results. We have had a bit of a snoek run up at Umhloti and Umhlanga as well.

Cuda Classic news

Cuda Classic WinnersThe Wahoo Diving Club’s Cuda classic saw two cuda come from No.1 and seven from the shoal, Tim Theunissen walked away with the R1000 cash prize with a fish of 9.5kg while diving from Andy Norton’s boat. The following week Andy was almost taken apart by a saily off Aliwal, luckily he managed to still boat his fish.

The fisherman had three good days of cuda action off the bluff just after the Cuda Classic and I was sure we were starting a sustained run of these fish. Unfortunately currents dropped off and so did the cuda. Darrell Hatting saw two garrick off a point on the lower south coast on the 27th of March!! I kid you not. Ice Cold water was everywhere towards the end of the month and I had to get my 5mm suit top out on occasion, nothing worse than being too cold when you’re diving. I saw a huge poensie off Scottburgh and since then have heard of quite a few seen but not shot.

Catch Returns and Catch Limits

I have been very busy compiling catch returns from top divers, Nationals events and Trials for the Scottburgh/Aliwal area since 1989. One springbok diver has recorded every fish he has ever shot and this has proven to be very informative indeed. The results have been forwarded to an independent fisheries person who specializes in mathematical models for sustainability of our resources. At this point I can only urge other divers to complete their catch returns and send them in as requested on your licenses. Do not alter, inflate or deflate your returns at all as this defeats the object. Total hours effort is understandably an important statistic to include. What is clear at this point is that spearfishing is a very sustainable form of fishing because the vast majority of species targeted exclusively by spearos exist way beyond our diving limits and are thus re-stocked continuously.

We are also very much limited by the weather and water visibility which unlike the Med for example protects our fishing resource even further. It is important to remember that other forms of fishing are not restricted like spearfishermen are and people who criticize spearos simply do not understand how difficult what we do is. Like I have said I have devoted a lot of time to this catch return report which I remind you is still on going so what disturbs me are the proposed new catch limits (NB: “Proposed”) I ask: If it is Marine Coastal Management’s intention to conserve, protect and ensure sustainable utilization of our marine resources how can they reduce recreational catch limits to a fraction of what they are yet allow licensed commercials to catch UNLIMITED amounts of the same fish?

Safe diving
Richard Bruno