Spearfishing in Coron and El Nido, Palawan
Beaches surround Palawan in The Philippines, and along with that come rich aquatic resources. So fishing is one of the primary sources of income for locals, especially those near the oceans.
But can you spearfish if you’re a tourist and want to catch your dinner?
As the top rated Expedition Expert in Palawan, we think we’d shed some light on these questions. If you are joining in one of our Palawan Expeditions and want to give spearfishing a go, it would be great for you to check our Freediving in Palawan post to learn more freediving in Coron and El Nido.
Is Spearfishing Illegal in Palawan, Philippines?
Okay, so first off, no. Spearfishing in the Philippines is legal, and many locals enjoy doing this. You don’t even have to go to deeper water to do so. That’s how wealthy the Philippine waters are.
You can bring your gear and go for it unless you’re in a sanctuary. Unfortunately, not all sanctuaries are marked in the country, so it’s best to be careful or ask the locals if it’s a sanctuary.
Do not forget to check our Things to Do in Palawan Philippines blog post.
Why is Spearfishing Forbidden in Some Parts of Palawan?
You might get confused from time to time because your hotel/resort might forbid you from spearfishing while the hotel/resort next to yours doesn’t. The first reason why it might be banned is when you’re in a sanctuary, which is done to protect the marine life in the area.
The other reason it might be forbidden in some parts is that some resort owners make up their own rules about spearfishing. For example, some of them don’t allow their guests to spearfish while diving but allows them only when freediving. Some resort owners, however, ban spearfishing entirely.
Feel free our Things to do in Coron Palawan post for more.
What Should I Do if I Want to Spearfish?
Well, first of all, you must go to places that only a few tourists or foreigners visit. So you’ll have to go off the beaten track and do it outside the tourist areas.
It might be unconventional, but some foreigners befriend locals so they can take them on their boats—especially those with their boats, like fishermen.
They then go to the market early in the morning, find the fishermen, and join their boat when they set out to fish. You can offer to keep the rest of the fish you won’t use or offer them a small amount as payment. (That’s around 20 USD, in case you’re wondering).
Do this at your own risk.
What About Spearguns?
You’ll see many locals using their improvised spearguns, but you won’t find a place to buy them anywhere. Well, that’s not entirely true. You can’t find them in malls or dive resorts, but you can find them in some dive shops or particular outdoor stores.
Okay, fine. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. You can bring your own. However, you’ll have to check with the company you’re flying in and out of. Some airlines allow them depending on your type and as long as you dismantle what you can and put them in a secure bag. Others use golf bags to store spearfishing gear, which may vary depending on the country you’re coming in and out from.
Do not forget to check our Things to do in El Nido blog post.
If you’re a newbie, this is perfect for you. However, spearfishing as a sport can be very demanding. You have to be a certified freediver to go spearfishing, and if you want to up your game.
Palawan offers spearfishing courses. You can do a 2-day advanced spearfishing course which involves 1. Pure freediving training applied for spearfishing provides a larger hunting area, stealth diving techniques training, and bottom time. And 2. The fishing session and lessons on selecting the equipment buoyancy management and working on your approach skills.
So there you go! We hope we’ve answered some of the most asked questions about spearfishing.
Happy fishing! Cheers!