One Breath


Kamahao Kanekoa, Grade 9

It takes years of practice to be able to dive down, hold your breath, and stay calm while deep under the water, waiting for that one fish to come by. In modern times, with the advancement of scuba gear and its availability, more people are using scuba gear to spearfish. In the USA, we should not allow the use of scuba gear while Spearfishing. Using scuba gear while spearfishing is unsportsmanlike, leads to overfishing, and increases unethical behavior.

To begin, it is unsportsmanlike to use scuba gear while spearfishing. Many spearos will work their whole life to refine their craft and style of diving. For many spearfishermen, they see scuba tanks as a way to skip past all of the years of work (Why Spearfishing with Scuba Gear is Often Prohibited,2017.). when a person has taken years of practice, to perfect their art, they get a deeper appreciation for what they are doing. But when you give a new speario scuba gear and a week of practice, they might be able to get the same fish as someone who has practiced for years. It’s also unsportsmanlike to the game you are hunting, you are taking away their number one defense against humans, and the reason people in the past could not overfish them, we were limited to one breath. With scuba gear, that has changed.   

Secondly, using scuba gear makes it easy to overfish. Diving without scuba gear, you are only able to stay underwater for as long as you can hold your breath, also when diving with a speargun, you only have one shot before having to come up to reload. But with scuba gear, you can stay underwater for a lot longer than most people would be able to without the scuba gear, and you can reload your gun underwater (Why Spearfishing with Scuba Gear is Often Prohibited, 2021) When you can stay down longer and reload underwater, it makes it a lot easier to limit out on fish. Spearios using scuba gear are also able to chase down the fish, giving them an unfair advantage. 

  Using scuba gear increases unethical behavior. For most species of fish, there are limits on the amount you can take per day or season. When you don’t have scuba gear, you are most likely able to take one fish pre-dive. But when you have scuba gear, you’re able to catch multiple fish on one dive, making it more tempting to kill more fish than allowed (Why Spearfishing with Scuba Gear is Often Prohibited, 2021). Here in Hawaii, spearfishing with scuba gear is illegal, but there are still stories of  people doing it.

Spearios with scuba gear will say that scuba gear is good because they can take better fish and are more likely to shoot legal-sized fish.  Some divers disagree, saying that they most likely shouldn’t have seen that fish in the first place. If they didn’t have the scuba gear and were limited to one breath, most of the time they would not have seen that huge fish and it would have had a fair chance to live.  When people are unable to use scuba gear for spearfishing, it makes it a level playing field for all, helps to stop overfishing, and decreases unethical behavior. Here in Hawai’i, it is already illegal to spearfish with scuba gear, and I can see more people here have a deeper appreciation for what it takes to catch your food. We should ban the use of scuba gear while spearfishing in the USA.