Monday, June 30, 2008

Spearfishermen save an endangered species

I received the following email from Ryan Burmeister yesterday:

"Springbok divers Len De Beer, Ryan Burmester and underwater film maker Broderick Whittaker where traveling towards deep Scotties[a good area of reef off Scotborough, 60 km south of Durban] when they noticed something large floating on the surface, as they approached it was identified to be a large brindle bass lying belly up.
Ryan jumped in to investigate and found it to be alive but rather bloated but not too distressed, it couldn't of been there long as it was sure to be shark bait with all the toothy critters in the area. Ryan proceeded to try and swim the giant fish down but despite all his efforts he could not get it down, it was like trying to swim a tractor tyre tube down, after endless attempts Brod the camera man gave him a hand and they finally managed to swim it to about 20 to 30 ft and with a few strong flicks of the fishes tail it made it to a depth were its buoyancy was compensated enough to be able to stay down. With a couple more powerful flicks it swam of in to the gloom.
Brod was able to get the whole event on film and the footage is awesome it will be shown on e-news soon.
They are not sure what was wrong with the fish which was estimated to be between 150 to 180 kgs, they think that the brindle might have been feeding on sardines and had encountered a buoyancy problem because of getting to close to the surface in a feeding frenzy, they did not notice any fishing line or damage around the mouth and gills although there was some blood coming out of the gills which may have been caused by over expansion of the air bladder. The divers where certain that the fish looked a hundred percent on nearing the bottom and it swam off very strongly.

They are in the process of getting hold of 50/50 to get the footage shown on TV."

Splendid stuff - well done to Ryan, Len and Broderick!

You guys did well for the that huge fish.

Brindle bass are massive and that fish would never have gotten down again without your help. From experience I have very often seen fish floating belly up like that where fishermen release their catches and do not sink them again to where their swollen air bladders do not float them. Unfortunately fishing regulations are not made with consideration of the death the regulations pose to fish themselves. Once I saw about 30 slingers floating behind a boat at Scotborough - the fishermen were following regulations and releasing the undersize fish. None could get down to the bottom and so they floated off down current to a fate of being washed up on shore or eaten by birds or other predators, and failing that by bacteria.

Not only did Ryan, Len and Broderick help a distressed fish but also they made a little movie that can have far reaching effects on enhancing the name of searfishermen. I hope to see it on TV - Keep me posted.

If the TV guys do not publish it there is also the option such as YouTube.

Here are links to pics of brindle bass:

Brindle found floating in Durban harbour - note the size:

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