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Petition Tag - gamefish

1. Legalize Freshwater Spearfishing

State regulations in Tennessee currently prohibit the taking of gamefish, excluding catfish, by any means other than angling (hook and line).

Freediving, the sport of diving without SCUBA equipment, and spearfishing are becoming increasingly popular. The desire to take a limited number of freshwater gamefish for consumption, by this method, is growing as well. With spearfishing, bycatch is eliminated. Spearfishing, specifically freediving and spearfishing, is a strenuous and challenging sport and it is not an attempt to make taking fish easier. Spear fishers, many of whom are also hook and line anglers, find it to be contradictory that in big game hunting the quarry may be shot but not baited; whereas in fishing, the quarry must be baited but not shot.

It seems that regulations follow the dollars signs of the big sporting industries, eg. bass boats, and bass tournaments, and don't give fair opportunity to those who would use other methods to pursue the same species. If a bass fisherman is allowed to harvest eight bass after hooking and possibly injuring ten others why can't a spear fisher harvest one bass, walleye, trout, or any other gamefish open to harvest by anglers?

Utah and Arkansas are two states that have already adopted regulations that allow spearfishing for freshwater gamefish. Freshwater tournaments are held annually in these states and spear fishers from all over the country come to these events because there is no opportunity in their own state. It would be to Tennessee's benefit to bring some of this economic activity back home.

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