March 31, 1992
Mr. Joe Blum
Washington State Fisheries Department
Dear Mr. Blum:
I would like to propose a ban on the spearing of wolf eels (anarrhichtys
ocellatus) within the waters of Puget Sound for several reasons:
1. It is unsporting and inhumane.
- A wolf eel speared by a scuba diver dies a violent and often slow death
especially if just wounded. It is unsporting because the wolf eel, in its den with its
mate, ,makes no attempt to escape and will even come out to swim with the diver or
take food offering by hand. They are also very slow and cannot out swim a diver.
2. It is morally and environmentally irresponsible.
- Wolf eels mate for life, are friendly to divers, have intelligence, character
and are large and impressive animals. The ARE SPECIAL (e.g., there is no comparison
between a wolf eel and a salmon).
- I do not believe it is an exaggeration to say that to allow a diver to put on a
space suit so he can travel into a different world where he was not invited, and swim
up to an obviously mated pair of animals (in some cases protecting eggs) and spear one
or both of them point blank is nothing less than a crime against nature.
- Your department would serve us best by realizing this and putting an end to this
so called sport. Especially, when you consider that the vast majority of divers and
many others are against it.
I am sure you realize it is the Department of Fisheries job to manage our
resources as responsibly as they can be managed both morally and otherwise -- not
merely preside over the most efficient way to HARVEST animals not in danger of
3. It upsets people.
- This also should be considered. I can tell you from my personal experience that
when divers get word of a wolf eel spearing, they are sickened and surprised it is
even legal to spear them.
4. There is no justifiable reason for any kind of "harvest" of wolf eels/
-Wolf eels do not need "thinning out."
-Many divers dive for years and never see one -- where they were at one time
5. "Extinction" potential exists with present limits and lack of restrictions.
- With the present limit of 15 per day, a single diver -- in a single day -- can
wipe out an entire wolf -eel colony. They are not great in number and can live only in
certain areas that have the required food and shelter.
- After being speared out of an area, it takes years for them to reestablish
The majority of divers want the wolf eel conserved to be seen and appreciated --
not speared. When this subject is put up for public discussion I am sure you will find
this to be the case.
I have enclosed a few photos for your examination. If I can do anything else or be
of further help, just let me know.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Very truly yours,
Just a note: The limit went down from 15 to one per day and then none in inland
waters. Currently fisheries is holding public hearings with the intent to make this
particular wolf eel heaven a marine sanctuary. My latest adventure there had me almost
hooked by a down rigger! Tracked on the depth finder, did they think I was eel or
This one man did a big thing with a heart felt letter and it worked. katrina
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