Spearfishing: primitive fishing with a twist

Muscat: When Nasser bin Salah and his uncle Mashal dive into the sea for fishing in Al Suwaiq, they look like scuba divers, wearing wetsuits, goggles and breathing tubes. However, their method of fishing is something that has been used throughout the world for ages.

Early civilizations were familiar with the practice of spearing fish from rivers and streams using sharp sticks. Modern-day spearfishing uses special spearguns.

Nasser said: “We learned to dive in 2014. We live near the sea, and my father and grandfather were fishermen.”

He, however, said spearfishing is dangerous because one needs to take a deep breath for ‘free diving’. “While oxygen can be used, free diving is easier.”

Sometimes, they black out while under water. “I get blacked out because of lack of oxygen, but we have learnt the first-aid procedures. We know what we do when someone blacks out.”

Currently, the duo has been using Nasser’s father’s boat for fishing, but they plan to buy a bigger boat in the future. “After my father passed away, we decided to learn diving and obtained scuba diving licences.”

They get all the diving equipment, including dive suits, guns and goggles, from Italy and the US.

Mashal says he enjoys diving and watching big marine creatures such as sharks and kingfish. “The Sea of Oman has a lot of such species.”

Nasser said they have caught a lot of species such as kingfish, mahi-mahi, tuna, epinephelus, etc.

In Al Suwaiq, a coastal town, a lot of fishermen use hooks to catch fish.


By Hossam Salim al Braidi

Oman Observer

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