Spearfishing: Conservation & Global Citizenship

Done responsibly breath-hold spearfishing could be one of the most eco-friendly way to bring fish to the table.

The London International Club members keep in high regards the needs of the sea and the environment and voluntarily abide to high integrity standards of ethics and conservation.

We know our seas’ resources are not without limit, with many marine ecosystems in serious risk of extinction caused by human activities through destructive over-fishing, industrial pollution and climate change. The LIC club members contribute to protecting our seas and its marine life by promoting sustainable fishing, protecting marine resources and environment monitoring.

Sustainable Fishing with Spearfishing:

Our spearfishing activities are sustainable practices and do not rely on the destructive methods of the professional fishing industry:

- Our club members selectively fish species based on regulations and code of conducts, without any bycatch, one of the main problem with the professional fishing industry. In contrast with many other fishing techniques like nets or lines, spearfishing is an extremely selective activity. The diver sees the fish before attempting to catch it and can therefore avoid taking small or immature fish.

- Our club members dive without the help of any breathing apparatus and hunt the fish in their environment, which makes the activity very challenging and natural. Divers catch only a handful of fish for eating with their family and by law are prohibited from selling any fish.

- Before any fish can be speared, many years of training and experience are required as well as demanding fitness conditions required to achieve a breath-hold of 1-3 minutes underwater. These requirements result in dramatic reduction of potential spearfishermen, as can be seen by the number of members registered with the British Spearfishing Association. As a direct result, extremely little fish stock can be targeted by so few spearfishermen.

- Overall spearfishing catches account for a minuscule proportion of all fishing catches. For example, in the 2001/2 season the total fish catch over the 5 competitions of the British Spearfishing Championship was less than 1 ton. This is the major spearfishing competitive event throughout the UK and it involves an average of 40 divers for approximately 6 hours per competition. All the catches were of adult fish and way above the minimum sizes required by UK law. In contrast, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs the total landings of fish by UK commercial vessels in 2001 amounted to 737,800 tonnes! This excludes all the by-catches…. (Source:www.defra.gov.uk). Overall it is estimated spearfishing in England accounts for less than 0.0001% of all the fish caught by commercial vessels. There is also no scientific evidence that spearfishing has had any negative impact on fish stocks.

- Most Spearfishing forms part of the sustainable way of living for many of the club members along the coast of the United Kingdom. All fish caught when spearfishing is for local and personal consumption, and we only catch what we can eat!

- Our club members do not damage sea floors and reefs on which a significant proportion of fish depends,

- By targeting local species and to current regulations, our club members are contributing to giving a rest to exploited fish stocks.

- Spearfishing is one of the fishing method with the lowest pollution footprint on the environment, with a minimum of equipment and materials needed with no or low fuel consumption.


Protecting marine resources:

To allow species to recover from destructive fishing practices and climate changes we strongly support marine resources protection initiatives.

- We support marine reservces initiatives and exclusion zones in particular across the European coastline with local authorities to enforce limits, scientific reviews of species stocks to adjust local regulations.

- We support the project for the protection of sea turtles in the UK and have agreed to contact the Marine Environmental Monitoring Team should we find a turtle in difficulty. For more information of the Project please see: www.strandings.com

- Our spearfishing activities do not target endangered species such as silver eel, salmon and sea trouts.

- Our club members adhere to self-imposed fish sizes and quotas above the legal requirements in England,For more information about fish sizes and our Code of Conduct, click here.


- Our club members only take a few specimens per fish school, contrary to most professional fishing techniques who often take the whole school… Other fishing techniques also often result in tons of “by catch” thrown back in the ocean … dead. (seewww.defra.gov.uk/fish/conserv.htm on the “by catch” problem). Spearfishermen do no do such a thing and strongly condemn such wastes and ecological impact.

- We take great care with methods of killing fish to avoid unnecessary pain.

- Our club members will contribute to collecting rubbish (plastic bags, etc.) found in the sea whenever possible, before they get into and destroy the marine food chain.





Environmental monitoring:

Spearfishermen (diving solely on breath-hold), along with scuba-divers (assisted with airtanks) are priviledged witnesses with a direct and close monitoring of marine life. Spearfishmen generally have an in-depth knowledge of the sea, its creatures and their habitat, sea temperatures, dates of arrival of species, detectin of new species due to global warming, plankton and alguea blooms, etc., based on years of diving experience and observation, recorded in dive log books.

Our club members are often the first to spot environmental problems and raise the alarm hopeful that the relevant authorities will intervene in time. At the London International Club, we try to make our resources available to support environment monitoring projects:

- We support the project for the protection of sea turtles in the UK and have agreed to contact the Marine Environmental Monitoring Team should we find a turtle in difficulty. For more information of the Project please see:www.strandings.com

- While our club members are spearfishing, we do monitor sea water quality and report to relevant authorities oil spillage, pollutants dumps, etc.

- We monitor the impact of climate change on local marine life with forced migration of existing species, arrival of new and invading species. In particular, we we support the Institute of Marine Studies in Plymouth and report any unusual fish sighting in UK waters. For more information, see www.ims.plym.ac.uk

- We monitor reef damages, essential habitats of a majority of marine life.

What can you do?

To help us protect our marine resources, you too can take some actions now:

- Adopt the LIC’s Conservation Ethics;


- Learn more about the marine species;

- When you are out on your boat, do not throw any rubbish or pollutants to sea;

- Only eat local, sustainable food.

- Join the LIC club for sustainable spearfishing!

- If you have any suggestions on how we can further improve our contribution to protect marine resources, please contact us.