Kauai Bonefish Netting

I’m culturally insensitive.  I say that because this makes me angry.  I know they’ve been taking and eating bones for a long time (probably not with modern nets though).  Still, I think it is a sad, sad thing to kill a bunch of bonefish to sell them (I have not heard of them being sold before).

A bonefish is worth more living than dead.  These fish are too wonderful to end their lives in a nylon net.  If thinking that makes me an a-hole, I’ll just have to live with that.

It was a good catch, they said, and then they drove off to take it to market.

via Food, people, life, stories. » Blog Archive » Pulling bonefish from the sea, Kaua’i style.


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  1. They were worth more to them dead I suppose. That’s just how they roll and it’s legal as far as I can tell.

  2. It is legal, that is how they roll and that is how they have rolled for a long, long time (although without such effective nets). I just think it is short sighted and it makes me sad to see those beautiful fish in a net on the beach. The French eat horse, Americans generally don’t like that, but I doubt the French care too much. Most bonefish anglers probably don’t like the idea of netted bonefish, but I bet the natives feel kind of French on the topic.

  3. Ted Williams (baseball fame) stated the best bone fishing he had ever experienced was on St. Croix USVI. After years of netting the bone fish are gone. I lived on St. Croix for 7 years and worked as a commercial diver. I never saw ONE bone fish. Bon appetite.

  4. Exactly.

  5. It is a very sad thing to see in a picture, but I can tell you it brings a grown man to tears when you see it in person. It is a huge issue in many locations (not just for Bonefish either) and will always be a hot topic. I have a very simple point of view on this, if it has been a traditional way of life to harvest these fish for a food source and authorities insist the practice continues than traditional methods of fishing should only be allowed. I am talking use of line fishing and spearing or nets made in the traditional way and traditional bag and seasonal limits should also be adhered to.

    In Australia this regulation has been set up for the hunting of Crocs, Turtle and Dugong and the system works well. These animals are protected from all other harvesting and the rules and regulations are very clear for the traditional owners who as a whole respect the land as their birth mother and do the right thing.

    Food for thought

    Ian Dollery

  6. Ian,

    Same thing with the turtle fishing in Cayman. When we passed our marine parks laws back in the 70’s or 80’s they made sweeping legislation that allowed those locals that depended on turtle fishing for a living to keep doing so, but only w/ traditional methods. They were granted a special license and grandfathered in, as the phrase goes. However, no new licenses would ever be granted. That means that (however sadly) when those old timers pass away, they’ll actually lighten the burden on the fishery, and no one can take their place.

    I guess I’m sort of one sided on the issue, though. I can see doing this kind of stuff if the culture in question is still at the level subsistence living. However, when it’s in a fairly developed country where most every 12 year old has a cell phone, well, I think that time has passed and they should be ushered (sternly if need be) into the 21st century, where we (as a species) have much bigger concerns than just filling bellies.

  7. Mate

    Very good points and I agree in total, please do not read my comments as I am in favour of this type of practice because nothing could be further from the truth. Believe me my preference would be a total ban on all commercial Bonefish as I have a vested interest in the industry this would be a great result if we ended up at that point as soon as possible.

    Regards and thanks for the comments
    Ian Dollery

  8. Indeed, all around.

  9. Ian,

    Sorry, I was, in fact, agreeing with you… just elaborating a little for my part. No worries.

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