25 September 2009

Fishing Licenses

Lately we've been a little lazy about updating this blog. It's not so much that nothing is going on, but more it really takes an effort to keep it up to date. And also, it would probably bore the audience if we wrote about every snorkel, every dive, every Eagle Ray, every shark, and every turtle. I have to say though, I quite like a life where those things are the mundane!

Over a week ago now, we finally got around to getting our fishing licenses (even though open season began on 1 August). We're now cleared to catch lobster, conch, turtles (!), and fish. So far we haven't caught anything (but we've only tried once). But after seeing one of the staff cleaning fresh fish last night for a meal today, I'm newly motivated. Catching lobster should be pretty easy and, of course, catching a conch is simple.

I didn't particularly want this photo circulating the internet, but oh well.

Our one fishing outing so far, however, wasn't for the purpose of food. We're both signed up to help one of the faculty in his fish research project. He's joined up with the Smithsonian and is collecting genetic samples for a broader, Caribbean-wide project. We went out one morning with him to test out a couple of seine nets. What we learned is that they're actually very difficult to use, especially when there's a strong current (which there happened to be). The flowing water pulled the net with such force that it made it almost impossible to walk with it. We didn't catch anything, but seagrass and some sargassum weed!

We'll be hosting a few people from the Smithsonian in October and they'll be bringing some other supplies for us, including Hawaiian Slings and a spear gun. Any sort of spearing of fish is (technically) banned in TCI, but we've gotten special approval from the DECR (Dept. of Environment and Coastal Resources) to use them for this project. This way we'll be able to target the specific fish that are needed for the project instead of pulling up ones that aren't necessary.

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