JP and friends dive and spearfish for fifteen years, almost their entire lives. I have seen JP arrive from the sea in good and bad mood. I have seen him tired, frustrated, angry, scared, enthusiast or close to give up going to the sea again, but I never saw him like the day he talked about fishing nets.
That day he went spearfishing with a couple of friends near Santa Maria. Let me explain what Santa Maria is: it’s an isolated beach in front of Inhaca island. To reach Santa Maria you have to have a boat, so you can guess how isolated and beautiful the place is.
When divers spearfish in Santa Maria, they have to cross strong waves to reach the good spots with big fish. When they beat the waves, they find themselves in open sea. Most of the boats go to the area to fish with rods, leaving the dive for the bold ones like JP and friends.
That day they dived and saw something very disturbing: the tide had carried from the sea to that area an incredible extension of lost fishing nets. The fishing nets had completed a deadly journey of kilometers and kilometers through the sea, dragging along thousands of beautiful fish and other marine creatures like turtles.
When JP and friends saw that gigantic ball of nets and agonizing fish, they couldn’t believe it. It was like an underwater building with several floors, inside of which was kept a crowd of condemn residents.
The first idea occurring to them was cutting the nets the way they could using their diving knifes, in an attempted to save part of the trapped fish still alive. The moment they approached the agitated waters by the commotion of the dying fish, they could see what they couldn’t before: the dangerous shadows of voracious sharks waiting to take part of the announced banquet.
“Approaching the nets would be almost a suicide!” explained JP and, after a moment of silence, he concluded: “Some people talk about spearfishing as an unfair way of fishing. They should see what we saw today! A single net does more warm in one day than hundreds divers do over a year!”
JP was really upset and I shall never forget his description of the nets with thousands of fish trapped inside, slowly dying.