Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thunderbolt Reef - spearfishing a red roman

Some time back I was out for a dive in great viz of 15 m or more. I headed to a spot a bit SE of Thunderbolt Reef. There are a few small cracks and hole on the sand stone bottom there. On occasion the area produces a fine fish or two.
I followed a cape knifejaw to a hole and found a red roman in the hole. Camera on I speared the fish but could not choke the gun and the spear probably bounced back a bit - after a few wiggles the fish was off and I was not pleased as I very seldom have a fish come off. Next dive down I found it almost expired the hole and brought it up.

Interestingly the ghost shrimps had a similar response to the time I took a zebra in the same area(I have posted that clip too - the one with all the butterfish in the cave)
Listen to the crackling before and after the shot.

I also agree with the present regulations to reduce red roman catches - they are definitely semi-residential in my opinion and one can easily see the shortage of big red romans in Algoa Bay. Commercial line fishermen are probably the chief threat. One fisherman I spoke to tagged a red roman near St Croix Island and the fish was caught again at Jefferies Bay indicating that they may move fairly large distances(assuming there was no error in the information).

I agree they are probably overexploted in certain areas - but at least there are many juveniles around even in heavily fished areas such as Algoa Bay so I seriously doubt they are "collapsed". These are my direct observations - made in the ocean with the fish - not some thumbsucking based on statistics.
The chief weakness of statistics is that common sense is very often left out of the equation:
This quote(from a stats website) indicates a weakness of statistics:
" A man with one foot in an oven at 100 deg c and the other foot in a block of ice is, on average, comfortable."

Sassi Infromation:

Species Information
Other Names | Red Roman
Biology | Highly resident, sex change (female to male)
Habitat | Rocky reefs
Distribution | Endemic, Namibia to Transkei
Capture Methods | Commercial and recreational boat linefishermen

Conservation Notes
Overexploited. Being highly resident, romans take a long time to recolonise reefs that have been overfished. Very slow growing, a 40cm fish is 17 years old! Minimum size limit is 30cm

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