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Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

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Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Had a lovely time snorkelling in Crystal Bay and surrounds today - but we were disturbed by tourists snorkelling with spear guns very close by. They seemed oblivious to our presence, were releasing their spear guns very close to us (our request for them to move further away was ignored) and it was pretty unpleasant seeing the same beautiful coral fish we were viewing slaughtered in front of us while they cheered and took photos.

Are there any rules in place about this? It was a dangerous and unpleasant experience during what is meant to be an opportunity to admire the local sea life - not kill it.

Bali, Indonesia
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1. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Unfortunately, I don;'t think Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida are protected.

If you were in Menjangan it is part of the National Park and taking of fish and corals is not allowed.

You might consider complaining to your hotel in writing and see if they have any comment or follow up. Hopefully there is some protection in place or at least the boat guides should be alerted to the dangers,

fairhaven
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2. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Thats terrible, we were there a few weeks ago. My little boy has just received his certificate for adopting a Manta Ray there. There is a fantastic foundation there called Acquatic Alliance, who do volunteer work there protecting all the marine life. We went to a talk there at Secret Gardsn Bungalows, hence adopting little nipper. The girls name was Lilly, perhaps you wld like to get intouch with her? I hate to ask, but what nationality were they?

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3. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Thanks for the tips - much appreciated. They were Anglo European tourists - not sure where from. Maybe UK or Germany but they were pretty uncommunicative when we spoke to them! Pretty uncool to hunt in an area where the fish are used to people (and often fed). Makes them too trusting and easy targets.

Bali, Indonesia
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4. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

People should not be feeding the fish in any case... that is a big no no in marine conservation anyway...Feeding fish could actually be more destructive in the long run, actually.

5. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

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Edited: 11 July 2014, 06:06
Adelaide, Australia
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6. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

I can speak as a fisherman, but spearfishing is not my thing.

Here in Australia there are certainly regulations and safety concerns surrounding the sport, whereby spears cannot be loaded out of the water, 400m restrictions apply around public beaches, restrictions on the taking of certain species, size and bag limits, restrictions on the use of powerheads, etc.

Bali as we are aware is a place of freedoms by comparison though, possibly what makes it attractive to many travellers.

There are numerous web pages, blogs and even a facebook group promoting spearfishing Bali, but this type of thing is "normally" conducted from a boat, anchored over a reef, which would place the spear fishermen away from swimmers and snorkellers.

I understand that people from different backgrounds will go to a destination for different purposes, as in this case: you and your group go to appreciate and observe the wildlife, their group go to find and hunt the wildlife.

Whilst each group needs a degree of tolerance, allowing the other group their freedoms to pursue their own interests, common sense and responsibility should still prevail. You don't spear fish amongst swimmers, and you maintain a respectful distance when using such a tool.

I generally find those who don't consider safety aspects or behave without due thought processes, are normally those new and inexperienced in a sport................thereby giving an overall negative impression of the sport in general, and as a byproduct, also tarring even the most responsible of participants with the same brush.

Likewise as previously mentioned, swimmers should not be feeding the fish, then they would not congregate enmasse or become dependant and reliant on this localised food source, so the swimmers too must accept a portion of responsibility here..

To me the concerns of relative distance/safety between swimmers and spearfishers seem valid and justified, and given the availablility of suitable inshore reefs around Bali, I really see no need for spearfishers and swimmers to ever be interacting, so I think it wise advice as already offered, that if the spearfishers themselves ignore your concerns, to instead approach your hotel with your concerns (if the hotel is along the waterfront area where you were snorkelling), or alternatively to approach the spearfishing tour operators (if it were a tour) with your concerns.

Possibly nothing will be done, possibly you will gain satisfaction, possibly a compromise may be met where one area of the beach can be utilised for the spearfishing, another for swimming, or even time allocation to seperate the two groups and provide a buffer zone for safety, whereby all can still utilise the same resource for whatever purpose they desire.

If you don't get satisfaction, the best thing to do from a responsible safety perspective is to be the bigger man, swallow your pride and righteousness, and either move away from the spearfishers, or just get out of the water until they depart.

In having said the above in regards to lodging complaints, my only question: is it actually designated a snorkelling beach as inferred, or is it and has it always been a shared resource for all comers?

Edited: 11 July 2014, 06:23
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7. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Thanks Ranger, i will be snorkelling at Nusa Lembongan very soon and was concerned about the spear fishing. I have never encountered this as usually as you say its usually semi regulated that if you have swimmers etc you would not spear gun near them. Hopefully this was an anomoly and not the norm. Emkatay that would have been very distressing and so bad mannered of them to endanger others.

8. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

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Removed on: 11 July 2014, 09:07
Nusa Lembongan...
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9. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Hello there,

Since a few weeks, Nusa Penida is officially a Marine Protected Area.

Crystal Bay & most of the dive sites around the islands are strictly OFF limits to sport fishing & spear fishing.

The main issue being we're in Indonesia here with Protected Areas on paper but very small resources allocated to actual protection & education ... Still reports & pictures of sport fishing & spear fishing boats are very welcome & can actually help to educate local captains & enforce regulation.

They should be sent to the local organization Aquatic Alliance (info@aquaticalliance.org) which could report to Government agencies.

Thank you :)

Bali, Indonesia
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10. Re: Spear gun toting tourists in snorkelling areas

Great news on the Marine Protected Area designation. Thanks Valentin. Is there a phone number as well to report problems? Many organizations are not very good at checking and responding to emails.