Editorial 112

Editorial by Dave Moran

Changing Attitudes to Killing • World Ocean Conference

Killing marlin – attitudes are changing

Dave Moran
It has been interesting to see a change in people’s reactions to the killing of marlin and other large game fish.

The New Zealand Herald, which is the largest selling newspaper in New Zealand, has run pictures of young spearfishermen and line fishermen standing proudly by their catch. In recent times when such pictures appear, the Herald receives a number of Letters to the Editor. Every letter has been highly critical of the killing of the marlin – in general their comments are: it’s ‘disgusting’ for a person to be proud of killing such a magnificent marine creature. One writer even commented on the fact that in the same Herald edition there was an article about a man being fined for cruelty to a dog while another page showed a picture of a proud fisherman and his marlin. The writer commented, ‘Why is it illegal to torture a dog but not a fish?’

I’m not anti marlin sportfishing if done correctly. But what is interesting is the change in people’s attitude to the killing of these magnificent animals for the personal glory of an individual. Many see it simply as the same as shooting an elephant or majestic lion. Most hunters world wide have gotten over that ego trip.

Game fisherman themselves have also been a part of this changing attitude, by the fact that many now tag and release their catch.

Spearing a marlin has become one of the goals of some spearfishermen. I do question this activity. In the end it is not man against animal but man, bungee cords and floats against the marlin or sail fish etc.

Having spearfished for a living on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for three years, I have speared my share of fish but never used external artificial assistance. We let big fish swim by – just admiring them for their grace and beauty.

Interestingly some of the guys who have speared marlin commented that they will never spear another one.

As divers/spearfishermen we have to be aware of public opinion – is our behaviour and treatment of marine creatures acceptable by the vast majority of the public? From what I’m seeing the public is not impressed with glory-seeking spearos showing off their latest marlin kill.

Food for thought? I look forward to receiving your comments by email or via our Dive Buddies Discussion Forum at


I’m not ‘anti’ responsible spearfishing, in fact we have just published the second edition of Len Jones’s Guide to Spearfishing which is an excellent book for the new and not so new spearfisher.

World Ocean Conference – Indonesia

Did you hear about it? I was invited to attend this conference which was being held in Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi, during 11—15 May. Due to prior comments I was unable to attend. I though I would read about the progress of the Conference in our daily newspapers or on the major television stations – nothing? Though I did hear and see discussion via BBC radio and German TV News thanks to the Auckland based Triangle TV station. But as far as New Zealanders being aware of this major conference they were completely in the dark – amazing!

Representatives from 76 countries attended the conference. There were 31 presentations by world recognized specialists in subjects such as: Sharks and Rays; Fisheries Assessment and Management; Fisheries Aquaculture; Marine Entrepreneurship; Exotic Marine Organisms; Social Ecological Systems and Coastal Governance; Marine Health and Biomedical; Wetlands and Estuary; Ocean Technology Assessment for Global Warming etc.

The relationship of the oceans with the planet’s climate was high on the agenda. A resolution was passed to push ocean issues at the United Nations’ climate talks which are to be held in Copenhagen in December.

For such a major Conference not to be reported widely (as far as I’m aware) in the public media, makes you aware how ‘filtered’ News is in this country.

To view the full extent of this globally strategic influencing Conference visit:


It was great meeting many of you at the recent Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show (page 49) while you were renewing your subscriptions it was great discussing what articles you would like to see in the magazine. Thanks for your input. It is always a pleasure for me and the team to catch up with our readers and old friends. We look forward to catching up at the next Boat Show in May 2010.

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