Only one more week until the 2017 Individual state titles
The NSW individual state titles will be held over the weekend of the 28th and 29th of October on the beautiful Central Coast of NSW. The competition is generally rotated through the zones every 4 years with the other zones Sydney, Northern and Southern each holding the competition when it’s their turn. This year the Central Coast Sealions are hosting this prestigious event with aim of making it a fun and exciting event promoting safe diving , camaraderie and participation. between divers.
The State Titles are historically a rock hop in order to make the competition as fair as possible for all participants. The Locations selected for this year’s event are Catherine Hill Bay, Norah Head, Pelican Point and Bateau Bay. The aim of the competition is to swim out from a central location and catch one of each species from a restricted list of quality table fish. Once the competition is over competitors must be back in the designated weigh in area by the finish time where their fish will be weighed and scored. A huge selection of trophies and prizes are up for grabs covering every grade and also largest fish, most meritorious and committees choice. The NSW State Titles is open to all divers with any level of experience and we encourage all USFA members to attend this great event.
This year the 2017 individual State Titles were held by the Central Coast Sealions.
The weekend started at the North end of the Central Coast at Norah Head.
Day 1 - Norah Head
Day 1, started with sign on from 7am which saw 33 divers including 5 female divers from all over including the Far South Coast, Sydney District, Newcastle, Central Coast Region and even Victoria sign on to compete.
Once all safety protocols were checked and species on/off were announced we gave recognition to the first Australians, service men and women & Day 1 commenced.
Divers ran off in all directions from South of Norah to pellows all the way to north of lakes reef... some even made the venture out to the bull!
We had reports from divers swimming back and forth, running from one end to the other of viz between 2 and 15m. Those who had the opportunity to enjoy the 15m had luckily made the right choice in to where to dive. With hours passing we had divers begin to return, some carrying kings over their backs with stories a plenty including the first king taken for Irene a female South Coast Diver.
The great team of the Central Coast Sealions who had chosen not to dive or return early began weigh in and prepare for lunch. Once the fish were weighed divers were given the opportunity to donate any fish which were then filleted, crumbed and put into a wok.
As sign off approached at 1 o'clock all divers had returned and the fish burgers station was in full swing. Fresh bread rolls, salads and fresh crumbed fish fillets were frying away.The burgers went down a treat and were a great hit with several divers returning for seconds and even thirds.
As the day closed and the scores where tallied the leaders and scores for day one were complete.
Day 2 - Bateu Bay
Bateau Bay was chosen as the location for Day 2 with conditions looking good and the final day set to excite.
Day 2 had 34 divers sign on and another beautiful day on the central coast was in store.
Bateau Bay set a challenge to the divers as it was a new adventure and new spot to dive for most. It offered plenty of ground to cover with multiple species to come accross.
All divers returned to the ring on time many with some great fish to show including a decent size king from a Sydney Junior.
After a good BBQ feed with home made fried rice and pad thai kindly made by some lovely family members of the USFA and Central coast sealions all the scores where tallied and winners ready to be announced to the eagerly awaiting divers.
With a massive thank you to ADRENO SPEARFISHING, DIVER AUSTRALIA & ACE SPEARGUNS the central coast sealions had the opportunity to give away over $2500 worth of prizes awarded to promote participation along with the tropheys & prizes awarded to the rightful and well deserved winners of each category.
Please enjoy some pictures of the event and place holders throughout the day also attached final score sheets
It is with much excitement that the USFA would like to announce that the NSW State Spearfishing titles will be held on the October long weekend in conjunction with the Tomakin Sporting Clubs Fishing Bonanza. The State Titles will be a one-day pairs event on the Sunday only and as with all USFA competitions full USFA membership will be required to fish. Pair’s events are becoming more popular in our region and this is the format favoured by our neighbouring countries and the format of our most esteemed competition with them. By incorporating this competition with the Tomakin Fishing Bonanza there is the opportunity to further promote this event, promote pairs competitions and spearfishing to the broader community. On the Saturday morning we also plan to run a spearfishing induction course and then encourage experienced divers to accompany the tyro’s on a dive. There will be incentives to participate in this.
It was decided at the USFA executive meeting last Thursday to keep the USFA membership fee at $90. This was achievable due to discounts on our insurance; the level of coverage still remains the same as when the premiums were higher. The executive have worked hard with our insurance provider to create this policy and although some feel it is too expensive, we believe it represents good value and is the best currently available to spearo’s in Australia. As spear fishers in other states and territories become aware of this policy, we expect to increase our membership footprint outside of NSW as a result.
The USFA is the peak spearfishing body in NSW and has always advocated for spearfishing access and rights to all spearo’s, be they a member of the Association or not, this is always our default position. In order to improve communication it has been agreed that we should offer a ‘social membership’ to the USFA at nil cost. This is in the hope of improving communication, inwards and outwards, and also that more people will then see the value in taking up full membership with the USFA. This social membership will not have the voting rights, insurance or other benefits of full members, however as we are the strongest voice for all spearo’s in NSW in the legislative and regulatory process, we feel improving our relationship with all of our extended tribe is very important.
Thursday evening also saw the AGM held and the re-election of the entire executive to their previous positions. Two new executives to previously unfilled positions were filled by Bob McComb as Deputy Chair and Simon Horvath as Information Officer, this new influx of experience and enthusiasm is a deliberate attempt to improve consultation with members and stakeholders. Changes to our constitution are also being discussed at the executive currently; these can only be made with the mandate of the membership. All members will be given notice well in advance and we ask that you consider these and the intent of any changes and vote accordingly.
“Where there is unity there is always victory” (Publilius Syrus).
The NSW Government is inviting your comments on suggested management initiatives to enhance marine biodiversity in the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion. Please note that the consultation period has been extended until Sunday 8th May 2016.
The Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) has created a discussion paper where they describe eight suggested management initiatives in the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment. The USFA agrees with most of these Initiatives except for Initiative 4 - Spatial Management.
Spatial management is basically another name for Lockouts. The USFA is opposed to lockouts as we believe there are better management strategies than total lockouts.
USFA's Matthew Poulton answers some questions on what the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment created by the Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) means for spear fishers in NSW, Sydney, Newcastle & Wollongong.
The USFA’s Issues with the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment
a) The first Sunday of every month of the year, except January, Mother’s Day, long weekends and major championships. Dates for the upcoming year are to be notified three (3) months prior to commencement. The year commences 1st January and completes 31st Where agreed, Allimans may be held in conjunction with major metro controlled events.
b) A notified date shall not include any date which has been allocated to another championship event except as in (a) above. It shall also not include any date which has been previously notified by any club as a veto date. Veto date must be notified to committee at least four (4) months prior to the upcoming competition year.
c) Alliman Shields must be held on the notified scheduled dates.
d) Allimans will start and finish at the following times
January, February, March, April, May, June - 8am till 1.15pm
July, August, September, October, November, December – 8am till 1.15pm
These times may vary only where an Alliman is conducted in conjunction with a major Metro controlled competition normally 8am till 2pm or as otherwise notified at the venue.
The Australian Skindivers Magazine is a publication produced by the USFA for its members and the greater diving fraternity. The aim is to publish articles that promote and instill the values of Safe, Sustainable, Selective and Social spearfishing. You will find all the latest news from the political scene as well as from the clubs. Stories and articles are also included along with tips and tricks to improve your diving technique.
Check out the links below to the previous issues for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Tieing your own speargun rubbers isa skill you will eventually need to kow how to do for yourself. Getting the knotts right and inseting the bridle into the rubber can be quite tricky and frustrating. In this video James Sakker talks us through the process as Todd from Coffs Coast Spearfishing show us how it is done and all the tricks to make it easy.
Finding and catching lobsters can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of spearfishing and your time in the water. Not only are they exceptional to eat, but the ladies love a man who can put lobster on the table....every week!
Ths being the case we have one of NSW's most experienced and skilled lobster hunters, James Sakker, to guide you through all there is to know about lobsters and how how to catch them.
Finding and Shooting the elusive Mulloway or Jewfish can be one of the hardest things for a spearfisherman to tickoff the 'Bucket List'. Knowing just where to look and how to approach and shoot these fish are what every spearo wants to know. So when James Sakker, an accomplished Jewfish hunter, offers some tips and a video on how to go about the business of catching Jewies, he has everyone's attention.
Make sure you watch this video more than twice paying attention to the terrain, depth and techniques used.
Selecting the right speargun for you is one of the most important decisions you will make when you are starting out. By the time you are finished your diving career you will have an untold number of guns. But it is your first gun that you need to get right. There are many factors that will influence your choice of guns such as where you live and the style of diving you will be doing. For instance a 1.4m Carbon gun is not ideal for shooting a feed of fish around your local headland, and in the same way, heading out to bluewater with a 90cm pranger gun is not going to cut it. So what do you choose? James Sakker talks to Todd from Coffs Coast Spearfishing and looks at all the choices and gives some very useful advice.
So you are thinking about heading off on a spearfishing charter to shoot the fish of a lifetime? They do not come cheap and you don't want to miss out on that perfect opportunity to shoot yor dream fish. So which charter do you choose? How do you know what to look for and what to expect? James Sakker sits down and gives you a full run down on just what you need to look out for and how to prepare.
Why Should I join the USFA? I've been diving for years without being a member.
By joining the USFA you will be becoming a member of an organisation that is putting all its efforts into improving spearfishing for everyone. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and give more back to our members. Diver safety and development are high on our priority list along with protecting our rights to spearfish all along our wonderful coast. By becoming a member you will not only have the right people in fighting for your rights politically but you will also have access to all these resources and programs. You will also be protected by our insurance policy. Check out our Insurance section for more information.
You don't have to be a member, but we sure want you! The more members we have, the stronger we are and the more we can do together to protect and build the sport we love!
What is this 'Insurance' and why do I need it?
Go to our Insurance section on this website for specific, up to date information on our policy and how it protects you.
How do I find the closest club to me?
Go to the Club section of this website and look at the list of clubs and the areas they are from. Feel free to call or contact any of the clubs to ask questions and find out when their next meeting is so you can go along.
What if I am not interested in comps. Isn't the USFA just for serious competition divers?
Absolutely not. The USFA is there for all Spearfishers, regardless of your skill level or experience. We are currently initiating many new programs catering for social spearfishers. Check out our Kingfish Cup and our Outstanding Capture Awards. Don't forget to keep an eye on our Events Calendar for upcoming Social Meets, Information Sessions and Awards Nights. And if you have other great ideas, we want to hear them!
What are the USFA doing about protecting the sport of spearfishing?
Firstly, we are building our membership so that we can demonstrate that we are a united group of like minded spearfishers who are safe, sustainable and sensible. We have experienced members who represent us on advisory councils and government committees fighting for our rights. We educate, coordinate and encourage submissions from our members on Marine Parks and other issues when they are called for so that we are properly represented when decisions are made.
Finally, by promoting, encouraging and supporting our members to follow our Code of Conduct we are, by ourselves, protecting our sport by example. Reaching out to fellow spearfishers and mentoring them in the same values is the greatest thing we can do.
Be the change you want to see in this sport!!
If you have more questions you would like answered, please contact us for an immediate response!
Launching a boat and the general area around a boat ramp can be a very hazardous place. You have risks of slips and falls, being run over by cars and boats, getting squashed or crushed, being struck or just plain old manual handling lifting your gear and catch in and out of the boat.
Caution and safe practice is not only important launching or retrieving a boat, considerable care and safe practice must also be used whilst travelling in the boat and at sea in general.
The following Boat Safety Guide was put together by the Central Coast Sea Lions Club and details a lot of the risks and controls to be considered and managed whilst working with boats.
Please take the time to look through this quality document and then go to our Training page to sit the quiz.
There are many things to consider when discussing Diver Safety. Not only are there the technical aspects of being a safe diver, but there is also the whole concept of understanding and developing a correct safe attitude and culture. The articles and content within this Diver Safety Section aim to inform as well as encourage all forms of best practice when it comes to the safety of yourself and your dive buddies.
Please ensure that SAFETY ALWAYS COMES FIRST. No fish or deep dive is worth your life. Don't put your life on the line.
Watch this 'Spearfishing Safely' Video which explains the basic essential knowledge.
A guide to safe underwater fishing, from the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW and Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman's Association.
This video was produced with the support of:
NSW Recreational Fishing Saltwater Trust Expenditure Committee
NSW Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing
Industry & Investment NSW
The production of this video would not have been possible without the assistance of many individuals:
Erez Beatus, Alex Lewis, Andrew Harvey, Garth Byron, Paul Roso, Ian Puckeridge, Jason Montes de Oca, Brett Vercoe, Shane Fitzmaurice, Tim Wilson, Matthew Okkanen, Chris Cuthbertson, Andrew Davis, Rick Trippe, Simon Trippe, Alan Forbes, Tom Holland, Ben Elliot, Emily Gleeson, James Sakker, Peter Saunders, Peter Walsh
Additional footage and materials were generously provided by:
Jason Montes de Oca - Huffy productions
Brett Vercoe - Liquid Focus
Shane Fitzmaurice - Breathtaking films
Special thanks to Erez Beatus. For more info on freediving technique and safety contact: Apnea Australia http:// apneaaustralia.com.au
This guide is to provide the standard requirements for boating activities under the auspices of the USFA. This Guide should be read in conjuction with the standing legal requirements for maritime boating.
Lobster Pad Thai Hello all, Here's a recipe for many of my like minded spearo's - if you find winter is great for crays but tire of eating them, this is a good way to use them well and get a bloody tasty and not totally sacrilegious meal out of Em.
Feeds 3 people - can easily be bulked up to feed 4 or more with some fish, chicken breast or extra veg
Sauce 1.5 Tb tamarind puree 1/4 cup chicken stock 3Tb fish sauce 1Tb soy sauce Chili powder to taste, I use about 1Tb, there is fresh Chili to be added to thepad Thai later as well 4Tb Brown Sugar
Method Mix all ingredients together, taste and balance flavors accordingly, when its right it will initially taste sweet and then the hot, salty and sour flavors will come afterwards. Set aside
Pad Thai Ingredients 2 x crays 1 bag pad Thai rice noodles Shallots - lots is good, 4 big ones minimum 1/2 an onion cut into pieces 2Tsp minced galangal, or ginger if you don't have it 4 cloves of garlic minced 2 fresh red chilis (or more if you want an inferno!) Sliced thin, with seeds 1egg 1 big handful of bean sprouts 1 bigger handful of corriander 1/2 cup of finely chopped roasted peanuts Lime or lemon wedges
Method 1. Grab the tail of the crays and twist out, chop in half and remove meat, devein and into small pieces (5-10mm in size), set aside 2. Boil some water in a jug. Place pad Thai noodles in a saucepan and cover with boiling water. Test noodles after 3 minutes or so, when they are flexible but still have a bit of crunch to them drain then and cover with cold water to prevent further cooking 3. Place a good amount of oil in a wok or large frypan and heat till its very hot. Finely slice the Shallots and fry in hot until until they start to get some color (not a lot) and remove and set aside 4. Add more oil of needed and get wok back to temperature, add the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes or so, until it begins to turn translucent. 5. Add the cray pieces and garlic and ginger cook for around 3 minutes storing as needed until lobster is just cooked through 6. Push everything to one side and crack an egg into the wok on the empty side, chop and stir until scrambled and distribute through the rest of the ingredients (alternatively you can fry the egg in a separate pan, slice it up and put it through) 7. Add the bean sprouts, fresh Chili and drained noodles and combine everything, add about 1/4 of the pad Thai sauce, sour very gently - make sure the wok stays at temperature for this part 8. When the dish is dry add another 1/4 of the sauce and repeat- pad Thai is a dry dish, if you add to much sauce at once it won't work. 9. Repeat until all sauce has been added, the noodles should be glossy and sticky 10. Serve on a big plate topping with the fried Shallots, peanuts and chopped corriander, give a good size of lime or lemon over the top and you are in for some happy days!
Here's another SE Asian guaranteed winner - it does the lobster justice while breaking up the flavour
Rice 8+ Cloves of garlic - finely chopped 4-5 Long red chilis - diced Birds eye chilis/chili flakes/hot chilis 1 onion sliced Shallots roughly chopped 1 Large carrot - sliced 2-3 celery stalks - sliced 1 Tb Fish Sauce 1 Tb Soy Sauce 1 Tb Oyster Sauce Small amount of chicken stock Good handful of thai basil (holy basil or normal basil will suffice if unavailable) 2 cray tails, meat removed and cut to a size of your liking ANything else you want to stir fry up (highly reccomend bamboo shoots)
Method: 1) Get the rice cooking 2) Put a very generous amount of oil in your wok/pan (coconut oil is really good if you have it) 3) Heat until smoking, stir fry garlic, chili and onion for about 3 minutes or until onions have just started to cook 4) Throw in shallots, celery and carrot (and other veges you want to include) - stir fry for a further minute or two 5) Add the lobster pieces, chicken stock and fish,soy and oyster sauces 6) Stir and fry until sauce has thickened and there is no/minimal liquid in the pan, and lobster is cooked through 7) Remove from the heat and stir through thai basil and hot chili's 8) Serve on rice 9) Enjoy
Hey guys give this a go if you are looking for something different. Works well with most fish
Ingredients 3 limes 1 can coconut cream or milk 1heaped Tb cumin powder and the same of corriander seed 2-3Tb soy sauce 1Tb fish sauce 2Tb brown sugar 3-4 chopped red chilis Skinned Fillets from a 3kgish fish Fresh corriander Optional - 3-5 kaffir lime Leaves Torn up
Combine all ingredients except for lime fresh corriander and fish in a bowl. Add the rind of a line to the mix and then add the fish (chopped into portions)
Marinate for as long as you have 10minutes works 2hours or more is better
Remove the fish bits and cook on a frypan. While this is happening pour the liquid into a saucepan, add the juice of 2 limes to it and heat on high reducing to a thick sauce. Taste and balance flavours as you go.
To serve place fish on a bed of steamed rice and place fish pieces on top. Pour over plenty of the sauce and top with a handful of chopped fresh corriander. Serve with a wedge of lime and enjoy!
You will need some boned and skinned fillets of bonito (or your choice of fish) Wrap fish pieces tightly in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours this helps to firm and set the flesh Remove fish from glad wrap and slice thinly across the grain (I like 2-3mm thick) Arrange the sliced fish appealing to the eye on your choice of platter Add a generous blob of wasabi Add a neat twirl of pickled ginger A bowl of 75% ketchup manis and 25% soy sauce mixed Some fresh herbs as garnish Enjoy with a ice cold beer or white wine on a hot day – Sydney sashimi at its best.
Common Name: Grey Nurse Shark Scientific Name: Carcharias taurus Maximum Size: 400cm Range: QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, WA.
The Grey Nurse Shark is probably the most commonly seen large shark in NSW. It can be found around headlands, particularly near large cave systems; islands and deepwater bommies. Usually the sharks aggregate in schools, ranging from a few to over a hundred individuals. Juveniles can be found in water as shallow as 1-2m and seem to avoid hanging around large adults.
This species is generally placid, although the use of burley and the vibrations put out by speared fish may result in having to deal with agitated and inquisitive sharks. Divers have been bitten under these circumstances, however the injuries were minor.
Common Name: Blue Groper Scientific Name: Achoerodus viridis Maximum Size: 120cm NSW Record: 19.054kg (before it became a protected species) Range: QLD, NSW, VIC
Note: Linefishers may take still take this species. See NSW Fisheries website for legal lengths and bag limits
The Blue Groper is a commonly seen species on NSW reefs and is easily distinguished by its size and swimming technique. The frantic waving of the pectoral fins is a swimming style common to the Wrasse family, to which this species belongs. The juveniles and females can range in colour from light brown to dark green, the dominant male takes on a bright to dark blue colouration. Should the male die, or be caught by linefishers, the next largest female will change into a male over a period of several days.
Common Name: Queensland Groper Scientific Name: Epinephelus lanceolatus Maximum Size: 300cm NSW Record: 177.81kg (before it became a protected species) Range: QLD, NSW, NT, WA
The Queensland Groper is the largest bony fish found in rocky and coral reef habitat. The distinct markings shown above can fade to a dusky grey in large fish, however the sheer size makes them difficult to confuse with other species. Although in the past the author has confused them with boulders and attempted to hide behind them while stalking other fish.
Common Name: Seahorses, Seadragons and Pipefish Scientific Name: Syngnathidae Maximum Size: 40cm Range: QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA, NT.
Seahorses, Seadragons and Pipefish belong to the family Syngnathidae and are completely protected in NSW. It is illegal to harvest them for any purpose, including for aquariums, unless special permits are granted.
Seahorses can often be found in estuaries, clinging to sponges and seapens.
Pipefish are commonly found in estuaries, particularly in seagrass meadows.
The only species of Seadragon found in NSW is the Weedy Seadragon, which is found in deep kelp stands and seagrass meadows, especially in sheltered bays.
Common Name: Eastern Blue Devilfish Scientific Name: Paraplesiops bleekeri Maximum Size: 40cm NSW Record: 0.624kg (before it became a protected species) Range: QLD, NSW.
The Eastern Blue Devilfish is a rarely sighted species, living deep within cave system, often in family groups of several adults and juvenile fish. It can be found in estuaries, as well as deep offshore waters. Its most often spotted at dawn or dusk, or on heavily overcast days, near the entrance to the cave. A uniquely coloured species, it is difficult to confuse with any targeted fish species. Care should be taken when spearing fish such as Black Drummer in caves, in case this species is also present.
A word of caution: If you break the Marine Parks rules and are charged, it does not matter if you did not know you were breaking the rules. Ignorance is not a valid legal defence.
What is a “no-take” area?
An area where all forms of fishing, recreational and commercial is banned. This includes gathering shellfish or crustaceans or collecting seaweed.
How is a Marine Park mean to work?
By setting aside areas for protection, the aim is to create a system of areas which are not harvested, and which can supply adults and juveniles to the surrounding areas which are still open to fishing.
Does it work?
For some species, particularly long-lived and territorial species, yes, Marine Parks can work quite well. For other species, especially open-ocean, pelagic species such as tuna; the no-take areas would have to cover massive areas of ocean to be effective.
Common Name: Red Morwong Scientific Name: Cheilodactylus fuscus Maximum Size: 65cm Record: Range: QLD, NSW, Vic.
A common resident of rocky reefs in NSW, the Red Morwong is the species many beginner Spearfishers first cut their teeth on. Found in shallow fringing reef, right down to the sandline in 20-30m, this species has a relatively small home range occupied by a school ranging in size from small juveniles to large, dominant males. During the day the fish will generally sit amongst boulders and in crevices, and are easily speared once found.
The freshly hatched larvae are paper thin and can drift for weeks before settling on shallow reef and kelp areas. As they grow the males develop a set of “horns” on their forehead. The females either lack the horns, or have a much smaller set.
Red Morwong can live to be over 40 years old, and as they are extremely territorial, they can be locally over-fished. Data from NSW Fisheries suggest Spearfishers are the main group catching this species.
Common Name: Blue Morwong, Rubberlip Morwong Scientific Name: Nemadactylus douglasii Maximum Size: 80cm NSW Record: 5.050kg Range: QLD, NSW, Vic, TAS.
A generally deeper dwelling species than its cousins, the Red and Banded Morwongs, the Blue Morwong is more often taken by more experienced divers. By far the most common habitat for this fish is the “sand line”. This region is where the rocky reef meets the sand of the deeper areas along the southern coast line. This species can also be found in shallower areas, especially after storms have stirred up the shallower (4-5m) reefs. Any spot that has Snapper, Bastard Trumpeter, Tarwhine or King Wrasse will also be a likely spot for Blue Morwong.
Blue Morwong occur singularly, in pairs and in small schools. Underwater they appear greyish in colour and often blend into the haze at the edge of visibility. The pectoral fins are a darker blue than the body and quite elongated. The Jackass Morwong (Nemadactylus macropterus) occurs in similar habitat, but is more commonly found in Victoria and Tasmania. The Jackass differs from the Blue Morwong by having a dark stripe across its nape (neck) and generally smaller size.
Little is known about the breeding habits of the Blue Morwong, but they are not mature at the minimum legal length of 30cm. The maximum age of this species is estimated to be over 20 years.
Like most Morwongs, the Blue is very inquisitive. The favoured technique is to swim to the bottom, near a likely looking ledge or drop-off and wait. Banging rocks together, throwing up sand and banging the gun handle onto the floor all work well. If spooked, the fish will flee very quickly but often return later for another look. Larger schools form in deep water where they are targeted by commercial fishers. NSW Fisheries estimate that the recreational catch of this species is about three times that of the commercial sector.
Common Name: Yellowfin Bream Scientific Name: Acanthopagrus australis Maximum Size: 65cm NSW Record: 3.657kg Range: QLD, NSW, VIC.
Yellowfin Bream are common in estuaries and in shallow coastal waters. Oyster reefs and cungee covered reefs are especially good areas to hunt this species.
This species is best distinguished by its yellow fins, dark margin on the tail and silvery-gold colour. Confusing species are Snapper and Tarwhine, the former either being much larger than a bream or having small blue spots; the latter has distinct gold stripes and a blunter head.
The fish mature at around 22cm in length and 5 years of age. The adults migrate great distances and spawning occurs in coastal waters, the young fish return to live among mangroves and in seagrass meadows.
To approach this species the best method is lying on the bottom and waiting for the fish to become curious and cruise in for a closer look. Commercial catches of this species range from 200-600 tonnes per annum. The annual recreational catch is estimated at 800-1000 tonnes.
Common Name: Tarwhine Scientific Name: Rhabdosargus sarba Maximum Size: 45cm NSW Record: 1.980kg Range: QLD, NSW, WA.
Tarwhine are common in estuaries and on shallow rocky reefs. They can form large schools of smaller fish; the largest individuals are often solitary.
This species is best distinguished by the bright golden stripes and gold coloured pectoral fins. It can be confused with the Yellowfin Bream which lacks the stripes and has a pointier head.
The fish mature at between 16-21cm and 2 years old. Spawning takes place in coastal waters during winter and the young fish return to estuaries.
To approach this species the best method is lying on the bottom and waiting for the fish to become curious and cruise in for a closer look. Commercial catches of this species range from 20-80 tonnes per annum. The annual recreational catch is estimated at 130-200 tonnes.
Common Name: Yellowtail Kingfish Scientific Name: Seriola lalandi Maximum Size: 250cm NSW Record: 43.00kg Range: QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA.
The famous “Kingy”! A much sought after species, the fighting qualities and sheer size of large Yellowtail Kingfish make them a prized catch for just about any spearfisher. Found around headlands, islands and occasionally in estuaries, any spot holding large amounts of baitfish near deepwater is a likely spot to see a Yellowtail Kingfish.
This species has “counter-shaded” body, with a greenish-silver dorsal surface, a dark stripe along the lateral line from head to tail, and a white belly. The yellow coloured tail stands out quite strongly underwater, and a good indication of large size is a relatively small tail. This species is confused with the Amberjack (Seriola dumerili) and the Samson fish (Seriola hippos) which have a similar body shape, but lack the yellow tail and have a dark stripe running diagonally through the eye.
Male Kingfish mature at around one year of age and 47cm fork-length, whereas females take longer to reach breeding age at 4 years and 83cm fork-length. This species spawns in the spring-summer period, the young fish stay well offshore until 40-50cm in length. Maximum age for this species is over 20 years.
Kingfish are often targeted using flasher or burley to attract the fish towards the diver. The best approach to get into range seems to be to simply wait for the fish to approach whilst hanging in mid-water. A speared fish will often be surrounded by other Kingfish, so a quick dive on a fish another diver has speared will often result in another capture. The recreational catch for this species is estimated to be between 120 and 340 tonnes per year.
Common Name: Snapper Scientific Name: Chrysophrys auratus Maximum Size: 120cm NSW Record: 13.221kg Range: QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, WA TAS.
Snapper are found on coastal reefs and offshore. They can come in to shallow reefs, particularly after heavy storms. Small individuals are often sighted along the sandline adjoining rocky and coral reefs.
This species is best distinguished by the bright blue spots on its body when small, and a large snapper is unlikely to be confused with the Yellowfin Bream or Tarwhine. Large adults can have large humps on their head, which appear to be the result of benign skeletal growths.
The fish mature around 22-41cm in length (exact NSW data unknown) and spawn several times in a year. The juveniles live in shallow coastal bays.
To approach this species the best method is to burley a likely area and wait for the fish to settle in to feed before diving to the bottom near the burley and waiting for them to come back in. Commercial catches of this species range from 200-450 tonnes per annum. The annual recreational catch is estimated at 200-250 tonnes. The majority of the fish caught are within 3cm of the legal limit and it is estimated that less than 1% of fish reach 10 years of age. Snapper can live to be over 40 years old.
Common Name: Nannygai, Redfish Scientific Name: Centroberyx affinis Maximum Size: 40cm NSW Record: 0.822kg Range: NSW, VIC, TAS.
Nannygai are found on deep coastal reefs to offshore waters. They often reside near cave systems, sharing them with Bullseyes. The fish pictured above was found in relatively shallow water of 27m.
This species is best distinguished by its red colour, large eyes and forked tail. The related Swallowtail Nannygai has a longer tail which has a deeper fork.
The fish mature at 10cm in length and can live to be 30 years old.
To approach this species the best method is to lie on the bottom close to where the school was sighted and wait for the fish to return. Commercial catches of this species range from 50-70 tonnes per annum in NSW water, with a further 800 tonnes in the Commonwealth managed fishery. The annual recreational catch is estimated at 20-40 tonnes.
Common Name: Eastern Australian Salmon Scientific Name: Arripis trutta Maximum Size: 75cm NSW Record: 7.860kg Range: QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS.
Eastern Australian Salmon schools can be found along headlands and in bays, ranging in depth from 2-20m. The size of the schools can range from a few dozen fish to many thousands.
This species has a distinct green coloured back and dark tail, with individuals in good condition having yellow pectoral fins. Confusing species are Tailor, which are generally smaller (in NSW) and have a rounder head. Western Australian Salmon occasionally swim up the east coast but a difficult to tell apart from their local cousin unless the gillrakers are counted.
The fish mature at around 40cm in length and 4 years of age, spawning in coastal water during summer. The eggs and larvae drift south to Victoria and Tasmania before migrating north to complete the cycle. The sexes are separate.
To approach this species the best method is a slow dive, parallel to the school and waiting for the school to approach or cut across the diver. Commercial catches of this species range from 500 to 1000 tonnes per annum. The annual recreational catch is estimated at 150-200 tonnes.
Common Name: Mangrove Jack Scientific Name: Lutjanus argentimaculatus Maximum Size: 120cm NSW Record: 11.68kg Range: QLD, NSW, NT, WA.
The Mangrove Jack is often found in estuaries, particularly as a juvenile. Adult fish can be found on rocky and coral reefs, to depths of over 100m. Mangrove Jack will usually have a home cave within their territory, and a good cave system may hold multiple fish.
This species is generally of a greyish colour underwater, unless spotted in the shallows where the red colouration will show. The white-grey line underneath the eye is a prominent feature of smaller fish. Confusing species include the Moses Perch, which has a black spot on its side and the Black Cod (see protected species page) which inhabits similar habitat.
This species spawns in late spring to early summer and juveniles drift on the prevailing currents before settling in estuaries and on shallow rocky reefs.
The Mangrove Jack will respond to burley, but the main challenge is locating the fish in the first place. Looking for good cave systems close by to baitfish and near the sandline seems to be the best approach.
Common Name: Black Cod Scientific Name: Epinephelus daemelii Maximum Size: 120cm NSW Record: 81.00kg (before it became a protected species) Range: QLD, NSW, VIC.
The Black Cod is found in rocky and coral reef habitat ranging in depth from inter-tidal rockpools to deep waters well offshore. Its colouring can range from greyish-white to pure black. The colour form pictured above seems to be the most common in shallower areas. The black spot on the caudal fin is a key identifying mark. It can be confused with the Wirrah which has a deeper body and blue spots on the head and body. Other similar Serranid species include the Purple Cod and the Maori Cod, both of which have similar cave dwelling habits, but quite different colouration.
The NSW Fisheries department is charged with the sustainable management of fisheries activities that take place in NSW. The Fisheries Management Act gives certain powers to the NSW Fisheries Officers and they apply the Fisheries Management (General) Regulation. The Regulations are reviewed on a regular basis with input from stakeholders such as recreational and commercial fishers; as well as conservation groups.
A word of caution: If you break the recreational fishing rules and are charged, it does not matter if you did not know you were breaking the rules. Ignorance is not a valid legal defence.
Understanding the rules
What is a “fish”?
For the purposes of legislation and regulations dealing with fishing activities the term fish means:
Sharks and rays
Bony fishes such as bream and morwong
Cephalopods such as squid and cuttlefish
Crustaceans such as crabs and lobster
Oysters and other molluscs
Echinoderms such as sea urchins
Beachworms and other polychaetes
And the definition applies regardless whether the animal is dead or alive, or has been cut into pieces.
What is meant by “take or attempt to take”?
The “taking” of fish (see above list for what a ‘fish” is), is the act of catching and killing a fish, gathering or collecting fish, or removing fish from a rock or other attachment point. “Attempting to take” means you were trying to take a fish. In legal terms, it doesn’t matter if you were successful at killing a protected species, if you had the intent to do so; you are guilty of an offense.
What is the difference between the terms bag limit and possession limit?
The term “bag limit” refers to the amount you are allowed to catch on a given day, “possession limit” refers to the TOTAL amount you are allowed to have in your possession, say in your catch bag at the boat ramp, and at home in your freezer. A good example is Luderick, where the daily bag limit is 10 (as at November 2014), but the possession limit is 20.
What if I have accidentally done the wrong thing?
If you’re lucky and the NSW Fisheries official is in a very forgiving mood, you may get off with a warning. However that should be considered the height of good fortune and if you are in possession of a protected species, under size fish or are over the possession limit, a fine is the very least you can expect. Penalties can include time in goal.
What is considered poaching?
As recreational fishers, Spearfishers cannot sell their catch. “Selling” is defined as taking fish to sell, swap, barter or otherwise gain a benefit, or attempting to do so. It is illegal. End of story.
An example might be where you catch a good bag of bream and offer them to your local takeaway in exchange for other food. That is illegal.
What about spearing fish for family and friends?
That is ok. But remember, many species of reef fish are long-lived and territorial. No one intends to deplete local populations of a particular fish species, but overfishing can and does have local impacts.
Know where you can and can’t spearfish
To begin with, currently all freshwater creeks, streams, rivers, lakes, impoundments and dams are closed to spearfishing. The ‘Freshwater’ begins at the tidal limit of rivers that empty into the sea.
Are the any areas where I can’t spearfish but where other forms of fishing are allowed?
Yes, other than the above freshwater areas, see the link below for a comprehensive list.
In the listed areas all forms of taking fish with spear is prohibited. Some of the closures are historic, other’s are to prevent divers interacting with boats, whilst some were simply the result of politics.
The Living Water Freedivers club holds meetings on a monthly basis at Charlestown (see calendar for next meeting). At club meetings members can learn new skills and information about dive gear and popular target species with topic nights on various aspects of this great sport.
We welcome all keen spearos to attend one of our meetings as this is the best time to meet the guys and organise boat rides for the next comp (usually the following Saturday).
We have a good mix of Social divers who enjoy our weekends away up the coast and Comp divers. Our comp structure has evolved over the past years, concentrating on selective taking of fish as this is an ecologically sustainable sport.
(Provide updates and content for club page on USFA website)
General info about Club
The Central Coast Sealions is a spearfishing and freediving club based on the Central Coast of NSW. Our members have one thing in common. They are all passionate about the ocean and respect its beauty and diversity. Our members participate in a large number of ocean based activities from SCUBA diving and snorkelling to underwater hockey and marine photography. Members also follow the philosophy of only taking what you need and keeping to the USFA Safe, Selective , Sustainable Seafood principles.
The Sealions are a very sociable club and participate is a large range of fun and social activities. Whether you are new to Spearfishing or snorkelling we would be happy to show you how to dive and spearfish safely
History of Club
The Sealions was formed back in 1950 making it one of the first spearfishing clubs in Australia.
The club was formed by Bill Heffernan and ???? who were the major pioneers of the club.
Due to inactivity the club disbanded for a few years and was re formed by Glenn Bath and Andrew Pearce back in 1997 as has been going strong every since.
The Sealions also participate in a large number of social activities. These include camping weekends away, scubadiving and film fishing and social BBQ’s. Our members all love and respect the ocean and
Members of the club often participate in fundraisers to raise money for the club including BBQs, Picnic days, Formal Balls or dinners, Presentations.
Competitions and Events
The Sealions is proud to host an annual event which is also one of the oldest spearfishing competitions in Australia. The Canada Cup Which started back in 1952 as a friendy competition between Spearfiherman and fishermen. The cup was donated by a visiting Canadian tourist who was taken out by some local club members. This competition has generated a large following with upto 50 members participating in the weekends event.
What monthly competitions do you compete in?
The sealions hold monthly competitions usually on a Sunday. The competition locations vary from the south coast to as far north as south west Rocks on the mid north Coast NSW. The competitons are scored as per the sealions score sheets and points are calculated towards trophys and awards for the end of the year. A BBQ is put on after the competition so members can relax and enjoy a feed and a cold drink while talking about the days diving.
We also hold weekend away trips in which the competition is usually held on the Saturday giving members a chance to relax on Saturday night and plenty of time to drive home on Sunday.
Sydney Metropolitan Zone
Meetings Held 3rd Monday of each month – 7pm at Gymea Trade Union Club
0415 903 422
Club Facebook Page
St George Spearfishing & Freediving Club
Vice President: Mark Harris
Secretary: Luke Colys
Treasurer: Ben Favorito
Treasurer Memberships: Justine Shephard
Sports Secretary: Luke Harris
Secretary Public Officer: Luke Colys
Social Secretary: Craig Shephard
Club Records Officer: Ben Favorito
Zone Secretary: Shaun Pyne
Historical officer: Susan Dockar
Safety Officer 1: Gary Baxter
General info about Club
The focus of the club is the safe development of new divers as well as local competitions and social dives.
St George Spearfishing Club aims to bring together like minded spearfisherman and free divers to exchange information and enjoy a relaxed social setting to discuss a sport we all enjoy.
The club was formed in 1956
Pioneers of the club were as follows: Ron & Valerie Taylor, Ben Cropp, Wally Gibbons, John Sumner
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_%26_Valerie_Taylor Link mentions STG spearfishing club
What events stand out in the history of the club? Milestones?
Ron Taylor winning the World Spearfishing titles in 1965. Also, several Australian titles 1962,63,64,65
Ben Cropp winning the Australian title in 1961
Mark Colys winning the Australian title in 1994
Australian Spearfishing team representatives- Ron Taylor, Mark Colys, Gunther Phrengle
The club runs Social Competitions and Social Club Dives to cater for the newer and beginner divers.
Club yearly presentation and Christmas Party.
Club away trips- Depending on weather conditions- Both North and South Coast of NSW
The club is looking to expand with snorkelling days for beginners and also fish identification days.
The club is involved in all major championships with members both competing and helping with the organisation. (Sydney Cup, Canada Cup etc)
Stg competes in the monthly Alliman Shield competition and is also involved in the championships.
Representative accolades of members from club?
Ron Taylor winning the world championship as a member, the only Australian to ever win it.
Mark Colys, Gunther Phrengle, Wally Gibbons and Ben Cropp have all been part of the Australian Spearfishing squad. Any extra’s to add?
Check out this link, has some great old photo’s
Mosman Whalers is a Sydney based spearfishing club. We are one of the smaller clubs in Sydney and a number of our members compete in the monthly Alliman Shield Competition and other NSW based competitions. We have divers of all skill levels from Beginners to Australian Representatives. We run several social outings throughout the year including trips away up and down the coast. Originally based in Mosman we now have members from all over the greater Sydney area with monthly meetings usually held on the third Wednesday of the month at Gladesville bowlo.
We are always welcoming to new members. If you want to join a club and learn to become a better spearo and meet a great group of divers you can give Matt Poulton a call on 0427 967 528 or Tony Moussa on 0418447238. Alternatively look up our facebook page "Mosman Whalers Spearfishing Club"
The Sans Souci Dolphins were established in 1953, and sixty years on we are still having a great time, as we grow as a club every day. We currently have a membership of over 60 divers, making us the largest spearfishing club in NSW. We strive to deliver what our club members expect from a well established and run club.
In order to ensure our members get what they need from our club, we maintain a balance of social and competition events throughout the year. We have social outings to restaurants, social dives both locally and abroad, and a variety of competition events. For example, at last year’s Eden Three Way State Titles in July, we booked three houses for our members, and over thirty dolphins attended the event.
Our club meetings are also a great social night for us all. We have a BBQ at every meeting as well as information/learning nights such as presentations on “Finding Jewfish” by Australian Spearfishing Champion Paul Roso, “Gear maintenance” by Luke Downie of Frogdive Guildford, “Correct Breathing Technique” by Simon Trippe of Australian Spearfishing Academy, plus much more to come over the year.
Who were the major pioneers of the club? Fred Nann was the original founding member for the Dolphins it’s first president and first Life member. He later moved to WA in his late 20′s, where he did a record freedive at the time recorded at 110ft.
North Shore Underwater Club boasts more than 65 financial members spanning from Penshurst down South, Blacktown in the West, Bondi in the East and, of course, all up and down the Northern Beaches. Not only does it give the ability to participate in Alliman competitions but it represents an excellent network of dive buddies. North Shore has always encouraged the development of new divers and it is our aim to get you taking the fish you are after. No questions are stupid or too basic, ask us how to shoot a luderick and we will show you how to.
Membership to North Shore also awards you membership to the Sydney Freedivers. SF is the ONLY insured and competition capable freediving club in Australia. Sydney Freedivers focuses on the freediving side and has its own host of training sessions, pool sessions and competitions.
North Shore is an exciting club boasting a huge breadth of divers from Sub Juniors to veterans at all skill levels. North Shore Underwater Club has in the past run many training sessions on pertinent topics throughout the years. We are sure that by attending just a single training session you will learn something that you didn’t think of before or perhaps didn’t know.
You do not have to be a member of NSUC to attend these as they are training sessions to encourage people to learn, come along, learn about the club and then make a decision whether the club scene is for them. I encourage you all to come along for at least one topic of your choice and join in what is always a great night of beers, raffles, dinner…oh yes and the training!
History of Club
NSUC historically hosts a high number of social events, we feel these weekends are a necessity as it gives our members the opportunity to network amongst each other outside of the structured monthly meetings, to find new dive buddies and in some cases friends for life.
In the past we have been lucky enough to be able to run a number of bunnings bbq’s which has allowed the club to be able to sponsor our ever growing list of social occasions some of which include:
Annual seal rocks camping weekend
Annual coffs harbour trip/ club competition
Club partners competition
New Zealand/reef trips
Excellent end of year xmas party & many more
Competitions and Events
In addition to being involved in all of the USFA run competitions including the Alliman shield, Sydney cup etc. NSUC also regularly run our own club competitions to encourage a bit of healthy competition within the club, and as a good excuse to get together and enjoy a day or two in the water.
Our club competitions range from annual events such as the seal rocks club comp and Coffs harbour club comp to hand spear and social comps in the harbour. We have also in recent times been running a regular pairs competition which involves two divers fishing as a team with only one gun, not only does this promote safe diving practice and teamwork, but it has also proved to be great fun aswell..
Sea Hawks Junior Christian Murace with a stonker Red Rocky. Speared at the spiritual home of spearfishing, Long Reef, this Red Rock Cod weighed in at 1384gm. Well done Christian to a new National and NSW record. The fish length was 380mm its girth 320mm.
On the 15th August Mel Brown, USFA Executive from 1971 to 2007, Life member and Historian, sent a submission to the Committee on Recreational Fishing in the Legislative Council, Parliament House. In brief the submission highlights that despite how selective and sustainable spearfishers are and how much scientific data we contribute we have little to no representation on marine park advisory committees. Mel goes on to suggest that the USFA should have a representative on each marine park advisory committee. There is a fair bit more to the submission so take the time and give it a read.
On behalf of all spearfishers the USFA thank him very much for looking after our interests on the political side.
Spearfishing Competition Procedures and Minimum Standards
Code of Conduct
Code of Discipline
1. USFA Schedule of Fees
Abbreviations used in this document
USFA: The Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association AUF(S): The Australian Underwater Federation – Spearfishing AGM: The Annual General Meeting of the USFA ASAP: - As soon as possible Club: -Shall infer USFA Affiliated Committee: -USFA Committee (the Executive plus one Member per Club) Executive: -USFA Executive as per TABLE 1 (any position cited shall infer USFA. E.g. Secretary = USFA Secretary) EFT: Electronic Funds Transfer Member: Member of the USFA via an Affiliated Club or directly Meeting: General Meeting of the USFA Committee NSW: New South Wales Sport: The sport of skindiving Sub-committee: USFA Sub-committee (appointed by the Committee)
USFA Constitution Proper
1. Association Name The Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association
2. Office The Office of the USFA will be determined by the USFA Committee
3. Aims and Objectives
(a) To promote and develop the sport and other associated underwater activities (b) To actively implement and promote any and all safety measures applicable to our activities (c) To organise and control any relevant activities within NSW (d) To provide an organisation which can represent the interests of its Affiliated Clubs and their members to the AUF(S), Government, and Regulatory Authorities (e) To establish, promote or assist in the subscription to, or becoming a member of any organisation whose objects are similar to, or in any part are similar to the objects of the USFA and beneficial to the USFA (f) To arrange competitions, conventions, conferences, symposiums, expositions and the like for the members of the USFA and to provide or arrange for prizes, trophies and awards (g) To obtain any acts or legislature, provisional order or other official or Government power or authority licence which may be deemed requisite to the USFA, and to act in opposing any acts or legislature, provisional order or any other official or unofficial power of authority there by Government or any other group or organisation which may be deemed to be against the interests of the USFA or the sport (h) To encourage the uniformity of rules, regulations, codes of conduct, standards and administrative controls of the sport in NSW (i) To purchase, lease or acquire any lands, buildings, easements or properties (real or personal), which may be requisite to the purpose of any of the objects of the USFA (j) To accept subscriptions, donations or bequests (whether real or personal estate) for all or any of the objects of the USFA (k) To regularly publish and distribute an informative journal and to forward any relevant material received pertaining to the sport
4. Changes to the Constitution
(a) The Constitution of the USFA may be altered or changed by Special Resolution and ratified at the AGM or an Extraordinary Meeting of the Committee, subject to the other provisions of this section. Note: The Committee, by definition, signifies the Executive and one Representative from each Affiliated Club, who shall carry the voting power of his Club after consultation with all of its members. The rules covered in Sections 16, 17, 18 & 19 shall be strictly adhered to in the deliberation and final voting on any such alterations. (b) All proposed amendments or alterations shall be delivered in writing or electronically, by the Secretary or his nominee, to the nominated Club Representatives of all of the Clubs and to the Executive, not less than 30 days before the voting is to take place (c) The Public Officer shall send all required documentation concerned with the alterations and lodge any Official Forms, accompanied by any associated fees, to the relevant Government Department within 7 days of the alterations being accepted by the USFA, and in the same time frame will inform the Club Representatives and Executive of all particulars (d) The Secretary shall inform all Club Representatives and Executive within 7 days of receiving confirmation of alterations from the relevant Government Department upon which the alterations will be immediately adopted (e) Any change to the USFA Constitution Proper requires at least 75% of the voting power of the USFA, as set out in Section 19 below, to be in favour of the alterations proposed in order to be carried. (f) The Executive may make, alter or repeal any part of the Constitution, except the Constitution Proper, at any time, provided notice of any change is given to all Clubs and Executive within 14 days of the proposed date of change, after which time the changes shall take immediate effect.
5. Club Affiliation
(a) Any Club or Group associated with any form of underwater activity shall have its application of Affiliation considered by the Committee, provided that the Club or Group satisfies the following conditions:
i. The Club or Group’s Constitution is presented to and approved by the USFA ii. It’s predecessor’s Constitution, i.e. a Club’s Zone, is presented to and accepted by the USFA iii. The Club or Group agrees to abide by the Constitution of the USFA iv. The Club or Group pays in advance the registration fee as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees” v. The Club or Group Nominates a Club Representative.
(b) All Clubs shall pay an annual Affiliation Fee as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees”. (c) Each member of a Club shall pay an annual Member’s Affiliation Fee (as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees”) through their Club to the USFA. It shall be part of their Club Membership and shall not be an optional amount. (d) Notice of Annual Affiliation Fees payable by the Clubs and their members shall be sent prior to the conclusion of the financial year. All Clubs and members must ensure that Affiliation Fees are paid within 30 days of the expiry date. Failure to do so will result in the Club or member being deemed unfinancial. All Fees become due on July 1st of each year. (e) Any Club which becomes unfinancial shall no longer partake in the privileges of membership and nor will its members. (f) In the event a Club remains unfinancial for more than 30 days after the serving of a notice by the Membership Officer, it shall be struck off the list of USFA Affiliated Clubs. (g) A rejoining Fee as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees” may be demanded by the Committee. (h) All Clubs shall accept full responsibility for the actions of their members and shall undertake to administer any penalties or controls as deemed appropriate by the USFA. (i) Should any Affiliated Club fail to abide by the Constitution, its affiliation may be suspended by the Committee. (j) Acceptance of the USFA Constitution implies acceptance of all sections and parts of the USFA Constitution. (k) Conditions relating to payment of annual Individual Member’s Affiliation Fees will be the same as those relating to members of Clubs, except that their fees will be paid directly to the Membership Officer. Failure to pay their fees as set out in Section 5. Part (d) above, will result in action as in Section 5. Parts (e), (f) & (g) above, but pertaining to an Individual Member. (l) Clubs must attend a Committee meeting when a meeting is deemed to be sufficiently important to be rated as compulsory. This may be accomplished by either sending a representative in person or by an electronic link-up. (m) Notwithstanding the above, all meeting minutes forwarded to the Club Representatives will be replied to in the form of a willingness to accept the outcomes of those meetings, or a report tendered on the issues arising from the minutes. These may be offered as agenda for the following meeting at the discretion of the Committee present at the original meeting. (n) Non-compliance with Parts (l) & (m) of this section (above) may result in a fine or suspension of Affiliation at the discretion of the Committee. (o) The Club’s Representative must: i. Forward to each of his Club’s members all correspondence received from the USFA ii. Organise a reply to the USFA when required iii. Organise any member’s voting on any issues tendered by the USFA iv. Report back to the USFA on any voting results v. Forward any issues his Club or any of its members may have vi. Organise any submissions the USFA may have to supply to any authorities from time to time
(a) The Membership categories are as follows: i. Full Membership: e.g. Senior, Lady or Junior ii. Honorary Full Membership: e.g. Patrons of the sport; non-competing office bearers or volunteer helpers iii. Individual: e.g. Social or Independent iv. Life Membership
(b) Clarification and Eligibility Criteria of Membership Categories: i. Any person who is a registered financial member of a registered financial Club. Membership shall be unlimited subject to the Committee’s right to reject any application for membership without any reason being given. The applicant’s Club will be informed of the reason for rejection within 7 days of the refusal. ii. The Executive may approve Honorary Full Membership, at its discretion, in cases such as a new member offer, a prominent individual’s efforts in promoting the sport or non-competing Office bearers and volunteer helpers. iii. An individual may make application directly to the Membership Officer via the Membership Application Form. All rights and obligations as for a Full Member, and as defined in this Constitution, apply. iv. Any person rendering special or important service to the USFA may be nominated for Life Membership. Nominations shall come from the Clubs to the Secretary 30 days prior to the AGM. The nomination shall give a full account of the nominee’s activities in sufficient depth for adequate consideration to be given by the Committee. A nominee will be accepted as a Life Member if a 66% majority of the USFA’s total voting power is in favour. A Life Member shall pay no USFA Affiliation Fees and no Club Membership Fees.
(a) Nominations from Members or Clubs for the position of Patron of the USFA shall be considered by the Committee at the AGM. (b) A patron is a person of note who may or may not be a member of the USFA and has performed functions or delivered statements which have brought repute to the USFA. (c) This position is purely Honorary but will be in keeping with the dignity of the USFA.
8. Rights of USFA Membership
(a) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and the regulations set up from time to time, every Member shall be entitled to use all premises and facilities of the USFA, and to participate in any activity, competition or event conducted by, or under the auspices of, the USFA. (b) Every Member is eligible to contest any election into any Position of Office in the USFA. (c) Every Member shall be entitled to add agenda to any proposed meeting of the USFA within the specified timeframe, attend any meeting of the USFA, and may address any meeting of the USFA with the permission of the Chairman. (d) Every Member is entitled to view any records of business, or otherwise, of the USFA by appointment with the Secretary of the USFA.
9. Rights of USFA Affiliated Clubs
(a) Each Club, provided all other conditions contained herein are satisfied, shall be entitled to vote on matters determined at any General Meeting or Extraordinary Meeting of the USFA, or any Special Resolutions offered. (b) As per Section 8. Parts (a), (c) & (d) above
10. Structure of the USFA
(a) The administration, control and direction of the USFA shall be the responsibility of the Executive, except during the course of General Meetings, Extraordinary Meetings, and an AGM at which the Committee presides, and whilst dealing with any Special Resolutions. (b) The Executive will consist of all position holders as detailed in TABLE 1. (c) The Committee shall consist of the Executive and one representative from each financial Club. (d) The Committee may, at any time, appoint or delegate its powers to any Sub-committee and may regulate and determine the procedures and duties of such Sub-committee. (e) The Executive may appoint persons to hold any positions in the USFA deemed necessary for the correct and efficient running of the USFA. Any duties related to, and any powers implied by such appointment will be circulated and clearly defined to the USFA Membership within 7 days of such appointment.
11. Authority and Responsibility of the Executive
(a) When the Committee is not in session, the Executive shall assume the general authority. (b) The Executive may not take action that involves changes to: the Constitution Proper; any major policy; or any issues denoted as a Special Resolution without first advising all the Clubs of the intended action and being guided by the decisions of the Clubs, except as laid down in this Constitution. (c) The Executive shall settle all and any disputes arising from any Clubs’ or their Zones’ interpretation of this Constitution. All decisions made shall be final. (d) Directions from the Executive to the Clubs, their Members and their Zones are binding. (e) The USFA Executive shall neither have authority over, nor be held responsible for the financial management of the Clubs or their Zones, except as laid down in this Constitution. (f) The Executive may, without prior warning, remove from Office any member of the Executive who: through misconduct, mismanagement or omission, fails to carry out their duties in a proper manner. The Executive may then appoint a person to hold that position temporarily until an election for that position takes place. Appeals outlined in Section 14 below. (g) The Executive may, at any time, call upon any Club to account for its actions and may, if so decided, suspend the Club until an enquiry into its actions is satisfactorily completed. (h) Any Club failing to account in full for its actions, or attempting to hinder the work of the USFA at any time, shall be considered contemptuous and be liable to imposition of a penalty or suspension as at the discretion of the Executive. (i) The Executive must ratify any recommendations, public statements or business, submissions and the like, by any Member or Sub-committee before they are implemented as USFA Official. (j) Each member of the Executive shall provide an Annual Report for the AGM electronically forwarded to the Secretary no later than 7 days before the meeting. (k) If any member of the executive resigns before the AGM, they shall send a letter of resignation to the Secretary. (l) The Chairman of the USFA may appoint a replacement until such time as an election may be held to fill the position.
12. Authority and Responsibility of the Committee
(a) The Committee shall assume the authority of the USFA, and the specific authority of the Executive, when it is in session. (b) Any member of the Executive considered as failing to carry out his duties in a satisfactory manner by the remainder of the Executive and/or the Committee, or bringing by his actions, statements or otherwise, disrepute upon the USFA, shall be requested by the Executive or Committee to show acceptable reasons for his actions. Failure to respond to such a request in a satisfactory manner shall result in his removal from Office by the Committee. (c) Any Committee member suspended under Part (b) above, or Section 11. Part (f) above, may appeal at the next Committee Meeting or by direct contact to all Clubs and each member of the Executive for deliberation. (d) The Committee may impose any of the following penalties:
i. Temporary or permanent suspension of Affiliation ii. Temporary or permanent suspension of a Member iii. A fine as per “USFA Schedule of Fees”
13. Executive Positions and Responsibilities of Office
The chief Executive member and spokesman of the USFA -Authority to convene all meetings of the USFA
Preside at all meetings of the USFA, maintaining order and correct procedure -Authorise all statements for publication or public release in conjunction with the Secretary
Acting USFA representative at all official functions
Conduct himself in a manner to bring credit to the USFA
Motivate the Executive in a positive way and engender team spirit - Ensure that a culture of good governance exists within all record keeping, systems, processes, projects and financials of the USFA
May appoint a stand-in when required – usually, but not necessarily, the Deputy Chairman
Assist the Chairman as necessary
Stand-in for the Chairman when required
Be equally responsible for all duties of the Chairman
Keep a true and accurate record of all business carried out by the USFA
Keep a true and accurate record of all policies of the USFA
Make any appropriate records available to any member
Confer with the Chairman in times of emergency -Conduct all general correspondence of the USFA
Ensure all communications are in keeping with the professional expectations and brand identity of the USFA.
Prepare the agenda and business for, and advertise all meetings of the USFA
Prepare, or have prepared, and distribute minutes of all meetings of the USFA -Compile an Annual Report of the activities of the USFA: usually for the AGM
Inform all Clubs of all relevant matters, protests, meetings, motions, disputes
Assist the Secretary in all his duties.
Stand-in for the Secretary when necessary
Keep true audited books and accounts of the USFA’s financial affairs -Oversee all banking of the USFA’s monies
Be a signatory (one of at least two) on the USFA cheque account
Keep an accurate record of all payments of accounts and fees
Prepare a progressive report for meetings of the USFA and whenever required
Prepare a budget for the USFA as required
Register USFA Account signatories with the bank at the commencement of term
Advise or seek advice on any financial matter as required
Assist the Treasurer in all his duties
Stand-in for the Treasurer when necessary
Maintain procedures for the attracting of new members
Maintain procedures for the renewal of memberships
Seek new improved methods for the above -Recognize the needs and implications of the expanding base of Independent divers
Collect and receipt all Membership fees and present to the Treasurer
Pursue short and long-term activities that support the implementation and ongoing effectiveness of a self-regulating diver accreditation scheme for USFA Members and potentially others within the spearfishing community
Provide strategic support to related initiatives Strategic Planning
As part of a Committee assist in setting the direction and mission of the USFA in light of virulent competitive forces and emerging threats
Identify and workshop strategic issues through a forum that augments the objectives of the Executive
Discuss current or prospective issues and assist in the formulation of relevant action plans
Report to the USFA Executive
Keep a record of results of all USFA, AUF(S) and CMAS skin diving Championships and Competitions
Keep a record of all past and present holders of perpetual trophies
Keep a list of trophy donors
Keep a record of the Competition history of the USFA
Recall all perpetual trophies before the following year’s event
The transport, cleaning, repair and engraving of all perpetual trophies
The receiving of nominations and applications for any perpetual USFA award
The submission of the preceding to the USFA Committee for evaluation
Organize material into a logical layout -Monitor and regularly update the website
Source interesting material
Arrange for approved material to be posted as required
Ensure the website remains functional
Continually improve ways to attract & hold the interest of relevant audiences
USFA Magazine Officer
Source and organize material
Edit and produce the magazine on a quarterly basis
Ensure all material is fit for distribution or approved by the Executive
Distribution of the finished article
Actively seek fundraising opportunities
Identify where funds are needed
Organize the event via suitable means such as advertising, crew selection, sourcing of necessary equipment and location, etc
Collection and accounting of all monies and delivering to the Treasurer
Keep informed of available Government Grants
Identify projects which require funding
Enlist reliable personnel to carry out the task involved
Monitor the implementation of the task making sure it remains on track and within the stipulated contract
Provide relevant assistance to project officers engaged in assignments
Deliver any required reports
Keep all historical records of the USFA
Research historical data as required by the USFA for certain events or occasions
Inform the Executive in advance of any key historic milestones
Public Affairs Officer
Respond to any adverse issues directly concerning the USFA
Respond to any adverse publicity directed at the USFA or any of its members
Confer with the USFA Executive before making any response or action
Provide assistance to officers requiring assistance on PR related matters
Act on opportunities with potential for positive publicity or outcomes
Provide literature and tuition to members or prospective members
Source appropriate and interesting material to facilitate the above
To advise Club officials on the setting up and running of a Club educational program that covers all aspects of safety and the indoctrination of new members
Report material and proposed delivery methods to the USFA
Recognized Training Officer
Organize the training of members or prospective members via accredited tutors and instructors
Organize accreditation of members as trainers
Report proposed training schemes to the USFA
Spearfishing Records Officer
Keep a complete up-to-date list of all record sized speared fish
Be totally responsible for liaison between Members, Clubs, USFA, AUF(S) and CMAS on matters concerning records
Make available to Members the correct procedure for claiming a record
Process any record applications promptly, professionally and with diplomacy
Data and Research Officer
Collection of competition data
Scientific assessment of competition data
Writing of any appropriate reports
Scan for research relevant to USFA and source as necessary
Report all results to the USFA for assessment prior to any other use
Endangered Species Officer
Proactively liaise with relevant regulatory bodies
Scientific assessment of endangered and protected species
Submit any reports to the USFA prior to any other use
Keep members informed of any changes in regulations
Environment Officer Advisory Council Liaison Officer
-Identify and keep records on all Advisory Councils -Identify any which require USFA representation -Lobby to Facilitate USFA representation - Ensure USFA representation is maintained -Source and assess suitable candidates
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (Far North): from QLD border to Port Macquarie
Keep all records on Marine Parks -Seek involvement in any review processes
Organize meetings with the MPA
Organize submissions when required -Keep the USFA fully informed at all times
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (North): from Port Macquarie to Gosford
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (Central): from Gosford to Shoalhaven Heads
Marine Parks Liaison Officer (South): from Shoalhaven Heads to VIC border
Lodge all appropriate USFA documentation and records with the relevant Government Department
Members Liaison Officer
Maintain direct contact with the nominated Club representative of each Club
Ensure that any important correspondence from the USFA has been received
Ensure that the nominated Club representative reports to all his members
Ensure that any task required by the USFA is completed by the Clubs
Report all outcomes to the USFA
(a) Any Club which has disciplinary action taken against it or any of its members may appeal to all Clubs and the Executive within 30 days of imposition of penalty, and with the prescribed bond as outlined in “USFA Schedule of Fees”. (b) Clubs shall have the option of appealing for their members or not: at their discretion. (c) All correspondence pertaining to appeals, suspensions and voting shall be deemed as “A” Class correspondence.
15. Committee Meetings
(a) The Committee shall meet at least 4 times a year including the AGM. (b) The Quorum shall consist of at least 6 Committee members with a minimum of 4 to be Executive. (c) If a Quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the advertised starting time of the Meeting, that Meeting shall be adjourned. (d) That Meeting shall be rescheduled to a date not exceeding 14 days from the original meeting date. (e) If a Quorum is not present within 30 minutes of the advertised starting time of the rescheduled Meeting, or if a suitable date cannot be agreed upon at the original Meeting, that particular Meeting shall be cancelled. (f) In the absence of both the Chairman and Deputy Chairman at a Meeting and providing a Quorum being present, those present are to elect a Chairman for the Meeting. (g) The Secretary shall issue a Meeting notice and call for Agenda to all Club Representatives and Executive not less than 30 days prior to the Meeting. (h) The Club Representatives and Executive shall deliver all Agenda to the Secretary not less than 15 days prior to the Meeting. (i) The Secretary shall publish and distribute the final Agenda not less than 10 days prior to the Meeting. (j) Items for inclusion on the Agenda of any Meeting may be submitted at the Meeting but any Members present may exercise their right to veto any such item if the item is deemed to be better served under a Special Resolution or if limited by available time remaining. (k) All financial Members shall be eligible to attend any Meeting, (l) Any Meeting (except the AGM) may, upon a motion being duly moved and carried, be adjourned to enable a meeting of any Sub-committee to be convened if deemed necessary to facilitate proper decision making on any issues presented. (m) Voting on any general issues, not deemed to be better served under a Special Resolution, shall be restricted to one vote per Committee member. Club Representatives shall have the authority to vote without consulting their Club. The Chairman must abstain but may lodge a casting vote in the case of a deadlock. (n) Voting on a Special Resolution shall be carried out in strict accordance with Section 19 or 20 below. (o) Any Member ruled to be disorderly by the Chairman, shall be removed from the Meeting and their vote (if any) curtailed until a replacement Representative is appointed. If none available, the Meeting will continue without their Club’s representation. There will be no replacement offered in the case of the Member being an Executive Officer. (p) A copy of the Minutes shall be sent to all of the Executive and Club Representatives within 30 days of the meeting. The Club Representative must adhere to the provisions of Section 5. Parts (m) & (o)i. above.
16. Annual General Meeting and Elections
(a) The AGM shall follow all provisions of Section 15 above, except part (l). (b) The business of the AGM shall be the notification and ratification of action taken during the year by the Executive, any business that any Member wishes to place on the Agenda, and the election of the Executive for the next term of Office. (c) Nominations for members of the Executive shall be received by the Secretary, duly nominated, seconded and signed or approved by the nominee, up to the conclusion of the AGM. At this time the Chairman shall declare all Offices vacant and a returning Officer shall be appointed to conduct the election of the USFA Chairman who shall then complete the election. (d) Voting shall be by a show of hands or by secret ballot at the discretion of those present. (e) The Chairman of the elections will have no vote except as a casting vote in the case of a drawn result. (f) If there is only one nomination presented in accordance with part (c) above for a particular position, then the nominee shall be deemed duly elected into that position. (g) Any positions left vacant at the completion of the elections shall be advertised by the Secretary with the view of seeking nominations. Notwithstanding the provisions of Part (f) above, the nominations shall be dealt with in accordance with Section 20 below.
17. Extraordinary Committee Meetings
(a) An Extraordinary Meeting of the Committee, or any Sub-committee, may be called at any time by the Executive or upon receiving a request from Clubs representing at least 50% of the voting power of the USFA. (b) Notice of the Extraordinary Meeting is to be served to all Executive and Club Representatives not less than 30 days prior to the meeting. (c) The Chairman of the USFA shall have the authority to call an Extraordinary Meeting with limited notice in times of emergency.
18. Special Resolutions or Notices of Motion
(a) Any matter or issue presented to the Executive or Committee that is over and above the matters and issues related to the every day running of the USFA, or any matter or issue which would be deemed to require a broad response, shall be deemed a Special Resolution. (b) A Special Resolution is to be referred to a Meeting or an Extraordinary Meeting or be dealt with electronically. (c) A Special Resolution is to be voted on in accordance with the provisions of Section 19 or 20 below.
19. Voting Rights and Voting
(a) The voting power of a Club shall be calculated on the basis of every full 10 members of a Club shall gain that Club one vote. E.g. 9 Members - no vote; 20 Members - 2 votes; 47 Members - 4 votes etc. (b) Voting on general issues not deemed a Special Resolution shall be carried out in accordance with Section 15. Part (m) above. (c) No Club shall hold a total voting power in excess of 15 votes. E.g. 160 Members - 15 votes; 200 Members - 15 votes. (d) The Executive shall hold only one vote as a whole, being a casting vote only. (e) A simple majority shall decide if a motion is to be carried or defeated. (f) If voting reaches a deadlock, the Executive shall clear the room to discuss and vote on the motion in order to deliver the casting vote. (g) If Part (f) above eventuates, the Chairman shall only carry a casting vote as part of the Executive vote. (h) Any Member involved in the voting on any issues relating to the business of the USFA must declare if a conflict of interest exists in any issue, and, if one does exist, that Member must abstain from the vote on that issue.
20. Electronic Voting
(a) If the Committee or the Executive require a matter dealt with between Meetings, they shall inform the Secretary who shall, within 14 days, advise all Clubs and the Executive of the details of the matter in the form of a Notice of Motion. (b) Upon receiving such notice, the Club Representative must carry out his duties as outlined in Section 5. Part (o) above. (c) The Club Representative must return his Club’s vote in writing to the Secretary within 30 days: being the validity date. Any Club votes received after this date shall be declared invalid and an explanation may be sought by the Executive. (d) The Executive shall consider and decide the matter from the indication of votes received from the Clubs. This decision shall be final and shall be circulated by the Secretary within 30 days of the validity date. (e) Any Club wishing to amend the Notice of Motion shall record its amendment with its vote for the consideration of the Executive. (f) The Executive may issue a notice of motion at any time. (g) Voting power shall be determined by the secretary from the provisions contained in Section 19 above. (h) All Parts contained in Section 19 above, are to be adhered to. (i) All records of the abovementioned are to be placed on file by the Secretary and produced at the next Meeting if required.
(a) Correspondence shall be treated in 3 priorities: “A” Class; “B” Class; or “C” Class. (b) “A” Class correspondence shall be considered of greatest urgency and shall be replied to ASAP, but not more than 14 days upon receipt of the communication by the Club representative. (c) “B” Class correspondence shall be considered of medium urgency and shall be replied to ASAP, but not more than 21 days upon receipt of the communication by the Club Representative. (d) “C” Class communication shall be considered of least urgency and shall be replied to ASAP, but not more than 30 days upon receipt of the communication by the Club Representative. (e) The Chairman or Secretary may classify outward correspondence if deemed necessary. (f) The Chairman or Secretary may classify inward correspondence if deemed necessary, and the Executive shall be bound by the provisions of this section: Parts (b), (c), & (d) above. (g) Any communication not replied to within 7 days of its due date, shall be followed up by the Members Liaison Officer. (h) Any communication deemed “Confidential”, shall not be transmitted beyond the bounds of the Executive until such time as deemed cleared for general distribution.
(a) A Notice may be served upon any Member either in person, by mail, or electronically, and shall be classified as “A” Class correspondence. (b) Any Notice served by mail or electronically shall be deemed to have been served at the time when it would have been delivered in the normal course of events. (c) The Members Liaison Officer shall follow up on any Notices served within 7 days of the serving to ensure; firstly - it being received; secondly - it being treated as “A” Class by the recipient; and thirdly - the recipient understands the content of the Notice.
(a) All finance shall be under the control of the Committee. (b) All monies for the USFA shall be paid in full to the Treasurer who shall bank such monies within 7 days of receipt. (c) All accounts payable by the USFA shall be paid by cheque, which shall be signed by the Treasurer and one other member of the Executive (being a nominated signatory on the account), or EFT using 2 factor authentication (a one time password generator), which only allows the EFT to take place with one Executive member as the originator, and one Executive member as the authenticator. (d) The financial year shall be from 1-7- preceding year to 30-6- following year. (e) In the case of any new applications for affiliation or Membership being received before and near to the end of a financial year, thus leaving insufficient time to complete the transaction and associated accounting, the fees payable will be accounted in the next financial year but full Membership rights shall be extended in the interim. (f) The assets and income of the USFA shall be applied solely in the furtherance of its specific authority, and no portion shall be distributed directly or indirectly to the members of the USFA, except as bona fide compensation for services rendered or expenses incurred on behalf of the USFA. (g) The Executive may receive, upon the direction of the Committee, payment for services as a condition of appointment, or reimbursement for travelling or other legitimate out of pocket expenses or costs incurred in carrying out the functions or responsibilities of Office. (h) The allocation of USFA funds for any purpose, including State Team subsidies, shall be controlled by the Committee. (i) All claims for reimbursement shall be made to the Secretary at regular intervals. (j) All payments shall be made in accordance with Part (c) of this section, above.
24. Employment of Staff
(a) Upon the recommendation of the Executive, staff may be employed on a part or full time basis to assist the Executive in carrying out its function and responsibilities with respect to the USFA. (b) Conditions of employment and payment shall be as decided by the Committee.
25. Liabilities of the Executive
(a) If the Executive as a whole or any member of the Executive in his Office as such has paid, or is liable to pay, money for any act, default or omission of any other Member or Members of the USFA, such money shall be refunded to him, or them, by the USFA, or such money shall be paid by the USFA. (b) Payments made shall be in accordance with Section 23. Part (c). 26. Levies (a) Should the USFA bank balance fall below a figure determined by the Committee, a levy as determined by the Committee shall be placed upon all the Clubs. (b) The levy value shall be placed on the “USFA Schedule of Fees”. (c) The levy shall be paid within 30 days of invoice.
(a) The Executive shall appoint auditors who shall have the authority to call for the production of all books, papers and accounts relating to the affairs of the USFA. (b) The accounts shall be audited annually and at any other time deemed necessary by the auditors. (c) Any Member or Affiliated Club may order an audit at any time by the submission of a written requisition to the Secretary, and the placing of an Audit Bond as outlined in the “USFA Schedule of Fees”. (d) Any Member or Affiliated Club who shall cause such audit will be exclusively liable for all and any fees and expenses incurred during said audit if all books and processes are found to be in order.
(a) The USFA may be dissolved voluntarily whenever a Special Resolution is carried requiring the USFA to be dissolved. (b) Such a Special Resolution must be dealt with at an Extraordinary Committee Meeting convened for that sole purpose. (c) In the event of the USFA being dissolved, the funds and property remaining after such dissolution, and the satisfaction of all debts and liabilities, shall be transferred to any Affiliated Clubs of the USFA: such Clubs being organisations not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual Members. Said distribution shall be made in such a way that each Club receives an amount equal to the proportion of its Members as a percentage of the total Affiliated Club Membership of the USFA.
A timely reminder to all spearfishers. Follow these simple rules and you will enjoy your diving – for life.
ONE: Dive with a buddy, and practice “one up one down” diving. This means watching your buddy dive down (and) return safely to the surface. You must make eye contact, as a blackout can occur up to 15 seconds after ascent.
TWO: Dive well within your limits. Do not push yourself, no fish is worth your life. Equally as important – if you are diving with someone not as adept as you are, you must dive within their comfortable limits. That way if you have misadventure then they are able to dive down to assist you.
THREE: Dive with a rig cord and float with flag visibly attached. Reels have their place, but not in dirty water, rough conditions, open water or strong currents.
Please familiarise yourself with the USFA and AUF safety rules on the web or better still pick yourself up a copy of 'The Guide to Spearfishing in New South Wales' available at all good dive stores.
Shallow water blackout is a loss of consciousness caused by cerebral hypoxia towards the end of a breath-hold dive in water typically shallower than five metres (16 feet), when the swimmer does not necessarily experience an urgent need to breathe and has no other obvious medical condition that might have caused it. It can be caused by taking several very deep breaths, or hyperventilating, just before a dive. Victims are often established practitioners of breath-hold diving, are fit, strong swimmers, and have not experienced problems before.
Samba is a loss of motor control. It is a partial loss of physical or mental integrity and generally occurs up to 15 seconds after reaching the surface, normally during your first breath after a dive. It happens due to not having enough oxygen in your brain.
The weekend of the 5th and 6th April 2014 saw a bunch of dedicated USFA Committee members brave the torrid wind and rain to set up and run a successful booth at the Family Fishing Show located out at Penrith Paceway. The show, focussing on family orientated enjoyment of Recreational Fishing, sounded exactly like what the USFA were seeking; an audience focussed on the social aspects of catching food for the plate. The estimation of 30,000 show visitors made the choice to attend relatively easy. The odds looked good for us to convert at least some of these visitors into USFA members. To aid this goal we put on a show special of a $50 Senior and $20 Junior membership. But as some things go, there were hiccups to overcome along the way. I must point out here that our team met these obstacles head on and manipulated some very favourable outcomes whilst wearing a smile despite some sometimes trying conditions.
Firstly, due to heavy rainfall the week preceding the event, the location of the show was picked up and moved from Parramatta Park to Penrith Paceway. A brave move by the organisers the week before the scheduled event. However, there was not much choice available as the ‘Powers that be’ at Parramatta Park had threatened to possibly cancel altogether if the poor weather continued. The event co-ordinators did an exceptional job just to be ready in time and due credit must be given in this regard. However, it also saw a few other obstacles appear with last minute arrangements and organisation.
The USFA team comprised of USFA Historian, Mel Brown, who despite having a bung shoulder ready for surgery put in a solid three full days. Mel also bought along a selection of Historical items for display including vintage Fins, Guns, Snorkels with ping pong balls, and even a mask made from a car tyre inner tube and piece of glass! Classic stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed looking through the old photos and listening to Mel explain the history behind our pioneers and their equipment, nearly all self-made. The crowd too, were impressed. Thank You Mel. Resident Fish Expert, Sascha Schulz, made the trip from Berima on the Friday to help us set up. His underlying Electrical Engineering qualification also became handy when we had to navigate the Penrith Paceway Electrical system to get some safe power for our stand. Thanks Sash.
Max Gordon-Hall, having driven 6 hours from Bathurst on the Friday to help setup, also proved invaluable as he was ordered to the very top of the ladder to hook up his event-saving tarpaulin that he just happened to have in the back of his car! The driving rain and wind was kept at bay thanks to that lovely tarp!! Max also assisted the following day at the booth before making the arduous drive back to Bathurst to start work by 8pm that night. Impressive effort. Thanks Max.
USFA President, Peter Saunders, was also on hand each day and was a great asset in converting semi-interested onlookers into excited potential members, especially those of the fairer sex! On a more serious note, Peter and I were able to spend time with many of our Fishing and political allies to strengthen and strategise our common goals for a stronger future. This alone, was worth the effort of the event. Thank You Pete. Alby Cooke, despite having just emerged from hospital for surgery to his arm, made the trip down from Terrigal and put in a full days effort at the stand. Nothing was too much effort for him and he was a great help. Thank You Alby.
Simon Trippe and Andrew Harvey were guest speakers at the event and kept the crowds enthralled with their safety and Jewfish presentations. They too, assisted the team in spruiking the joys of safe diving. Thank You guys for your support. Thanks must also go out to our ever serving Treasurer, Lee Dalli, who , despite having worked through the night made sure we had USFA shirts, eskys, drinks, membership forms, magazines and a host of other things that were critical to our success. What would we do without you Lee? Thank You!
At the booth we had a large assortment of back issues of our USFA Skindiver Magazine, and boy did they go like hotcakes! We managed to slip a membership form and the Spearfishing Guide into each bundle and I would estimate we gave out several hundred Spearfishing Safely DVDs, Membership forms, Guides to Spearfishing and magazines. Plenty of great information out in to the public! I was very impressed with the number of people who took interest in what we had to say and they were even more impressed when we were able to back it up and give them a Safety DVD and Guide to Spearfishing. Many mothers, Fathers and Grand Parents were taking them for people “who could do with this information”. Great stuff, exactly what was being aimed for when these resources were developed. Similarly, many were impressed to hear about our Code of Conduct and mentoring strategies delivered through our club network up and down the coast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new faces at club meetings over the next few months.
We had video footage running on two 42 inch TVs the entire time which also kept the crowds interested. A huge Thank You goes out to Michael Tackach for giving us the opportunity to play his exceptional footage throughout the weekend. The Jew schools stopped them in their tracks!! Many were impressed by the marine life available and the selectiveness of spearfishing. I can honestly say there was not one bad comment about spearfishing and I believe this was due to our members actively engaging anybody who even dared to stare in our direction and then giving them quality information and answering all their questions. Once again, a valuable strategy working towards changing any possible poor perception of spearfishing in the general public.
So even though it poured rain, the numbers to the show were not as high as expected and we had to overcome a number of obstacles we still had a roaring success. We had members that went beyond the call of duty to work together and improvise and we reached out to a very large proportion of those who came through the gates. We sold our values of safety and sustainability well and we distributed an enormous amount of material directly to those who were interested. Thank You again to our team and I look forward to an even bigger event next year. Max, you better pack that tarp again…. just in case!
The Sydney Cup is held annually during January at Gunnamatta Bay in Sydney's south. The competition is the first major comp in the calendar and part of the USFA NSW State Championship.
The Sydney Cup offers a great opportunity to improve spearfishing skills, meet new divers, and have a great social gathering.
Hosted By USFA Sydney Metropolitan Skindiving Zone
Weigh In, BBQ then Presentation
At Gunnamatta Park Nicholson Parade Cronulla
Meet & weigh in or the Pavillion
Sign on from 7:15am
SIGN ON FEE - 2017
All competitors must be financial with the USFA. Can join on the day or here: Membership
Competition will be based on the Sydney Metro Score Sheet.
No fishing allowed in the designated competition areas the day before the competition.
Safety gear to be presented on sign on - Float, Alpha Flag & Whistle
The top ten places.
Two top places in Sub-junior, Junior, Lady, intermediate, Senior, Veteran and Master Categories.
First two places in the nominated pairs.
First two places in the nominated teams.
Most Meritorious Fish Open.
Most Meritorious Fish Junior (include Sub-junior and Lady)
Heaviest Fish Open.
Heaviest Fish Junior (include Sub-junior and Lady)
Heaviest Morwong, Bream, Rock Blackfish and Luderick
Mort meritorious pelagic
The South Coast Spearfishing Championships are held annually in March for 2 days in Huskisson, Jervis Bay, New South Wales. There is usually a large turnout which makes for some tough competition and an exciting spearfishing event.
The Canada Cup is Australia’s longest standing spearfishing competition. With origins dating back to 1952. The Canada Cup spearfishing competition attracts competitors of all levels from as far as New Zealand, and notable divers including eight-time Australian spearfishing champion Ian Puckeridge, to compete for the top places.
But competitive spearfishing isn't just about the competition, it also offers a great opportunity to improve spearfishing skills, meet new divers, and have a great social gathering.
The Eden 3 Way State Championship spearfishing competition is held in winter and is a highly competitive 1 day event which has been running for 42 years. Over the years of 2009 and 2010 there was 100 spearfishing competitors which cements the Eden 3 way state championship as one of the biggest events on the east coast. This spearfishing competition is all about the beautiful weather, great location and showcasing the perseverance and skill of the competitors.
The Far South Coast Spearfishing Championships are held annually in Narooma. They are proudly hosted by the south coast skindivers club. With a fantastic junior division, this spearfishing competition is famous for its rock hopping and good quality kingies that are caught.
Organised and hosted by the Newcastle Neptune’s Underwater Club the Australian Pacific Coast Spearfishing Championships are held at Nelson Bay, Port Stephens over the Easter long weekend.
A mystery teams event is held on the afternoon of Good Friday along with training and 10 individual age comps (8 to 17) for juniors. The Premier Team event and 1st heat of the individual championships are held on Easter Saturday and the Premier Pair and 2nd heat of the individual championships on Easter Sunday. A Bluewater shootout for the largest 3 fish operates over any of the 3 days with cash prizes ($500, $300, $200).
PLEASE NOTE THERE IS A FISH AUCTION AFTER THE EVENT and all proceeds go to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
There is a huge range of accommodation available just Google Port Stephens, Nelson Bay or Shoal Bay. Divers must be USFA or AUF financial and have appropriate safety gear (float with flag, mirror and whistle).
It is a fantastic competition with great prizes and spectacular fish weighed each year."
The Sydney Metro Alliman Shield competition is a fin fish spearfishing competition open to both males and females and is held on a monthly basis with scores accumulating across the calendar year. Four Sydney clubs compete in the Alliman Shield with some great competitive rivalry between both mates and clubs.
The Alliman Shield Competition days are a great opportunity for divers to learn how to hunt a large diversity of fish species and forces divers to think about the fish they want to take, where to find them, techniques and the best equipment to use. It also provides a set date, usually the first Sunday of each month, when divers can plan to hit the water together and try their best in the local arena or just have a bit of fun with mates.
Only one of each of a set list of species of fish may be scored by a diver, thus maintaining the sustainability of our sport and of course there are many rules in place to enforce and emphasise the safety aspect of our sport.
There are many different categories within the Alliman Shield competition based on age and diver ability and divers range from National Champions through to absolute beginners. There is no better way to learn about spearfishing than to dive the comps and learn from the experience of the great divers around you.
The weigh-ins at the end of the day are always good social events with divers swapping stories of the adventures of the day, proudly showing off their fish or just enjoying a drink or two with mates and fellow divers. And of course, you end of with some fresh fish for dinner at the end of the day!
You can find out more about the history of Alec 'Curly' Alliman here.
The Taylor shield competition is held every month on the first Sunday. The spearfishing competition dates back to the early 60’s. In the height of spearfishing popularity, the early 70’s, there were many clubs on the south coast, all of them being a part of the two zones in the region, the southern zone and the far southern zone. Gradually less competitors were competing so smaller clubs weren’t able to function with so few members, they ended up joining up with bigger clubs such as the South Coast Skindivers Club.
The Taylor Shield is now contested within the Southern Zone, which comprises of the Barracudas, Reversby Workers Club and a southern branch of the San Souci Dolphins. Each competitor dives not only for his individual points but also to contribute to a club score. The sum of these points over a competiton year decides the winner of the Taylor shield in that year. Barra's have won the Taylor Shield 28 times in 44 years, RWC 13 times. Other clubs won the title the other 3 times.
The Living Water Freedivers comp structure has evolved over the past three years, concentrating on selective taking of fish as this is an ecologically sustainable sport.
The comp is run by Living Water Freedivers who are proudly affiliated with the NSW Underwater Skindivers & Fishermans Association. The competition is open to all spearos affiliated with the USFA which encourages selective fishing by awarding the top ten biggest fish, from a selective species list, weighed in for the day. Competitors can only weigh one fish in this competition making it a comp that allows the diver to target a particular species rather than several.
Nelson Bay is located a comfortable 3 hour drive north of Sydney in NSW. Its well known as a popular tourist destination that offers great accommodation, restaurants, spectacular views and beaches. Another exceptional quality is the areas well-known ability to produce large game fish and other species in the clear warm waters from January to June each year as the East Australian Current pushes warmer water down from more subtropical areas up north.
The warmer current brings with it marlin, dolphin fish, yellow tail kingfish, mulloway and cobia, just to list a few. The coast has a number of offshore islands and reef systems that hold excellent reef fish and pelagic fish, a small tinny can easily access these, so to enjoy the fishing does not mean big dollars.
The Spearfishing Challenge was designed to limit each competitor to one fish at weigh in. By doing so we limit the overall catch of competitors and normally the weigh in is much more spectacular due to people hunting for larger fish. It also decreases the amount of time it takes to conduct the weigh in, leaving more time for the important things eg. talking about the one that got away! The format for the comp is one fish per diver to be weighed in, a Species List will be made available on the day for all divers to have, this is not a pelagic only comp.
For the last six years in late June early July a large group of mostly like-minded spearfishermen and women have gathered in the small coastal town of 1770 in Central Queensland for the 1770 Classic. The Classic was started back in 2009 by the Organising committee of the Curtis coast Spearfishing Club. For the first two years it was held as an in house competition, but in 2011 the competition was opened up to all A.U.F. registered divers with an overwhelming response of 43 competitors. Since then the competition has grown each year and this year’s competition has already attracted interest from around 70 divers.
The location for the Classic (1770) is one of the most picturesque, laid back coastal town you are likely to find anywhere on the Queensland coast, with impressive headlands and sheltered bays 1770 is a must see destination for both Aussies and overseas travellers alike. Also 1770 is in very close proximity to the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef (1 hour by boat) and has access to a vast network of coastal inlets and reefs. The Competition for the 1770 Classic is not unique however it is a different scoring system to most of the other spearfishing competitions around Australia. The system simply sets a species list and a target weight for each species. Divers are allowed to weigh in three fish each (from the species list) and points are awarded as a percentage of the target weight.
Why would anyone want to cut down a spear? Ever had a tip snap off at the flopper hole? Bent a spear at the flopper on a long gun? Well now you should be able to recycle these old bits of steel for another gun and hopefully another fish. Other things you can do are add floppers to spears like those butterfly spears or change floppers from top to bottom. Whatever the reason you need to cut a spear down here’s how to do it.
First thing is spring steel spears are MUCH harder to drill and machine than spring stainless spears. But I haven’t come across a spear that I’ve never been able to drill…eventually. Particularly tough spears are the freedivers spring steel and the Rabitech spring steel spears. Rob Allen spears are fairly average to drill, Riffe are just as easy and Torres tuffs are like cutting butter.
The first part of chopping down the spear is getting the flopper off. This can be a little tricky depending on the manufacturer. Riffe spears are near impossible and you may as well buy a new flopper! Here is a freedivers spear in the vice ready for the flopper to be removed. Now all you do is file off the rivet flush down with the flopper and tap it out with a centre punch. This doesn’t always work so you may have to flip it over and file down the other side and punch it out that way. Either way after a bit of stuffing around you’ll end up with a spear with no flopper like so:
Now the next part is drilling the spear. If you’re taking off 10cm from the spear obviously put a nice big pen mark 10cm from the end. Now get the flopper and position it about 1cm behind this mark. Where the end of the flopper sits is where you want your hole. Always have a little bit more tip than the length of the flopper.
So no you know where you want to drill your hole how do you go about drilling through these hardened bits of spring steel? Well the first step is a drilling jig. All this does is keep the spear locked in place by the stainless screw and it has little hardened inserts to keep the drill bit in the centre of the spear. You should be able to buy something similar from a dive shop, if you have a lathe you can knock one up on the lunch break. I used bits of silver steel for the inserts, did all the machining and then hardened them. I have two drill hole sizes, 3/32” and 7/64”. I use the smaller one for 7mm spears and the bigger for 8mm spears.
Enough of the jig, here’s how you mark your spear. Place the mark where the hole needs to be on the little hole on the jig and mark another line so when you shove the spear up the guts you know where to stop! Now don’t go tightening the spear in the jig just yet. You may want to line the spear up so your flopper goes straight up and down (yes I’ve had them come out at 90° before!) I use a little bit of stainless or nail or whatever to make sure the spear hole in the back of the spear is vertical, THEN tighten the jig so your flopper hole will be up and down. Seems obvious but I’ve done it a few times!
Now to drill these spears I use a Formula Cobalt drill bit in the 3/32” or 7/64”. You will also need some cutting compound. You may get away without for stainless spears but with spring steel ones forget it. This is what I use, ‘Rocol’ it’s a brown turd coloured paste but it works a treat. Another compound to use is ‘Molycut’ but it’s a liquid stuff. Either will work fine and make drilling a breeze. So set your bit up in a drill press and make sure you put a nice smear of cutting compound on the bit. Use the slowest speed possible on the drill. Don’t be tempted into “going faster means finished faster!” You won’t get anywhere. If you want to use a hand drill you can try but you will probably snap a few drill bits. A drill press is the way to go with lots a downward pressure and remember SLOW!
Once you’re through take the spear out of the jig and viola! If you can’t get through the spear which will happen on the odd freedivers spear try a new drill bit. If that doesn’t work you may have to heat up the area to be drill cherry red and then let it cool and then drill. After drilling put the temper back into the spear as follows below. Only do this as a last resort.
You should run over the drill hole with a larger drill bit to sort of counter sink it to get the burrs off. The next part of the whole process is putting a tip back on the spear. Lucky with spring steel spears they can be re-tempered which means ANGLE GRINDER. You don’t have to worry about getting it red hot because it’s going to happen down the track anyways. So go nuts and put that tri-cut back on the tip. Work one edge at a time to get a basic shape and the angles right. A few minutes later and you will end up with a nice tip like so. You will get better and better doing these tri-cuts so if the first couple turn out a little less appealing than the mother in law don’t fret, just practice on some old spears. A file isn’t really necessary after a while but it will help to clean the tip up a bit.
Note; only go hard out with the grinder on spring steel spears, on stainless try not to get it discoloured or red because you can’t put the temper back into them. It will take a while longer but then again they aren’t as hard as spring steel spears.
Now to put the temper back into the tip of the spear so it’s not soft as butter. Simply rip out that blowtorch from all those prangers you’ve been making and heat the tip up cherry red. Once it’s all hot plough it into a jar of oil. Any oil will work; I used the old stuff out of my car so it’s not critical! Don’t use water or you will cool it down too fast and the spear will be too brittle. A little smoke and smell here is normal. Now we are back to where we almost started a spear without a flopper. Pinning floppers is an art in itself which needs to be practiced or shown. For a flopper pin I find a snap clip works a treat. Don’t be tempted to use nails or what not the pin needs to be pretty hard stainless. Some brands of spears use 316 pins and the floppers stuff up very quickly as the pin bends out of shape. Snap clips and shark clips are made from high tensile spring stainless steel and do the job perfectly, never had an issue with them. You can also use proper flopper pins from a dive shop. Snap clips fit perfectly in the 3/32” holes, bigger shark clips work well for the 7/64” holes. Use some bolt cutters to snip off a bit about 2.5mm wider than the flopper. Also check to make sure the flopper is on the bottom (yes that’s happened to me before as well!) Now you will need an anvil of some description, a vice jaw works okay but I have a bit of railway track that’s perfect for it. Using a ball pin hammer gently rivet over one side.
Don’t go bashing it too hard and try to get it as around and wide as possible. Repeat for the other side. You have probably got a flopper that’s pretty stiff or something wrong with it. Not too worry this can be fixed! For a stiff flopper usually forcing a bit of 8mm stainless into it to make it wider will do the trick: This should make the flopper swing open and close willy nilly. If not try some 10mm stainless or get the pliers out and wiggle it around, you should be able to pick the points of friction making it stiff. So assuming your flopper is nice and loose gently tap this area down with a hammer: This hopefully will make the flopper swing open to about 30° and then lock open the rest of the way. The best way to tell if a flopper is tuned properly is to put the spear in a gun and hold it upside down so the flopper is sitting down on the spear. Give the gun a sharp smack with your palm and the flopper should flick all the way open and stay there. That’s how a perfect flopper should be.
So now you have a perfectly working spear that can take down another few fish. This is particularly handy if you have all the same brand gun and you bend a spear on your 1400 and then just cut it down for a spare 900 gun spear. You can also put two floppers on spears if you’re keen. Also now you blokes should be able to put floppers on threaded shafts so you can have cool looking spears with prangers or points for comps!
Filleting knives need to be kept sharp to allow you to process your fish effectively and easily. Knives are sharp and will cut up your wetsuit, mask and anything else in your dive tub if simply thrown in unsheathed. This is how I make a quick, cheap and very practical knife sheath. Works great and I can throw my knives in with the dive gear razor sharp and no blink an eye. I pinched the idea off my late Grandfather who was a keen fisherman from Townsville for years.
What you will need first is your filleting knife and a short section of 25mm grey electrical conduit. The orange underground heavy duty stuff works but it takes a bit more heat to soften. Cut the section of conduit about 20mm longer than the blade of the knife.
Now get that gas bottle your use for making prangers and some insulation tape. Cover 3 of the 4 holes on the flame burner. This doesn’t allow as much oxygen to the gas and lowers the temperature of the flame. This way you don’t burn the conduit…as easily! You can also stick the conduit in the oven for a bit until it is soft and floppy. I couldn’t be bothered waiting for the oven to head up! Now keep that flame MOVING over the conduit. Sit in one spot too long and the conduit will burn. Roll the conduit over to get even distribution of heat.
Obviously remove the flame from the conduit while moving it so you don’t burn your hand. After a minute or two the conduit will start to feel soft and mouldable. Once this is achieved put your knife in the soft conduit. Yes the conduit will be hot and you can use gloves if you’re not feeling manly.
Now quickly jump over to a wood vice and squash the conduit and knife in the jaws to make it all flat. If you don’t have a wood vice simply get some bits of timber in a normal vice to clamp the conduit it. Now leave the conduit to cool in the vice for 5 minutes and then pull it out. You should have something that looks like this.
It should be a tight fit around the blade but it won’t touch the edge on the knife. To make it cover that last bit of the blade simply cut the sheath on a slight angle like so. You can shape them a little bit with a bench grinder or a file. I like to put holes in my sheath to allow for drainage of water if I put the knife in the sheath after washing it hopefully after processing a nice fish. Also if you have all the same brand knives and handles are the same you can see the blade through the holes and identify the knife. So there you have it. Pretty simple to do and makes a great cheap sheath. No excuses for blunt filleting knives now!
Every spearfisher wears a wetsuit, they are critical to keeping you warm, free from the harsh sun and performing at your peak whilst diving. Typically spearfishing wetsuits are of two piece construction with a hooded jacket and farmer john style bottoms. Wetsuits restrict water flow around the body where the body warms up the surrounding water and it stays close to your skin thus keeping you toasty warm. This is why spearfishers prefer open cell style wetsuits as you are most comfortable and flexible but they also conform to the body’s shape much better. When water intrudes and breaks this mass of warm water around your skin your body will become cold trying to keep your skin warm and you will feel cold. Any diver who has been cold in the water knows that it makes diving much harder as you struggle to hold your breathe. I notice I dive better in summer when the water is much warmer. The main cause of cold water entering a diver’s suit is holes or tears. Many divers overlook the little rips and tears in their suit however you will notice a great difference in your diving when wearing a hole free warm toasty wetsuit..
Repairing holes and rips in wetsuits is quite simple and easy to do for the average diver. However there have been some pretty dodgy attempts such as drowning the hole in wetsuit glue and hoping for the best! With a little care and time you will be able to fix your wetsuit to a standard that will last and extend the life of your suit. The things you need to gather to make a successful repair are as follows. Damaged wetsuit, neoprene glue, aquaseal urethane sealant, nylon thread with a needle and a bit of plastic wrap. See image 1.
You should be able to get wetsuit glue (neoprene glue/cement) and aquaseal at most good diving shops. The nylon thread I use is the stuff used to bind ‘eyes’ on fishing rods. I bought a spool for $7 at a bait and tackle store, you might have to ask for it but it is pretty common. If you use regular cotton thread it will eventually rot with the seawater – no good. The bit of plastic can be anything, just to stop you wetsuit sticking together which I will explain a bit later. Now this is quite a decent rip in this wetsuit. This will require not only gluing but stitching to make it a strong join. See image 2.
The first step to any repair is to put the plastic wrap on the inside of the suit. This is very important because if and when you get a drip of the glue falling off the join it will bond to the other side of the suit, consequently you may have a very tight fitting suit at the end of the ordeal. See image 3.
Now we are ready to start applying some glue to the neoprene. To ensure the strongest bond you need to apply two layers of glue. The first coast is to slightly melt the neoprene and get it ready for the bond and give the second layer a better grip. Smear a bead of glue on the neoprene part of the wetsuit as shown. You can then use a paddle pop stick or small brush to spread it over the area evenly. See image 4 & 5.
After you have spread the glue evenly over the area to be joined you must keep the two sides of the join apart for approximately half an hour and let the glue dry. After the glue is touch dry and not tacky in any way you can then go and apply another layer of glue to the sides of the join, also keep the two sides apart for 5 minutes so the glue only just starts to dry. See image 6.
After the 5 minutes we can now push the two sides together. Starting at one end ‘pinch’ the suit together whilst keeping it flat as not to get a raised up mountain look alike join. This is where the plastic you placed inside the side comes into its own, as you squeeze the joint together and keep it flat you will be guaranteed to glue your suit together in the wrong place if you didn’t have the plastic there. See image 7.
Keep pushing the join together from one end to the other remembering to keep it flat as possible. You can push any parts of the join that are raised up back down with a little pressure from your thumb. See image 8 & 9.
Once you have introduced the two sides to each other you should have a wetsuit that looks pretty spiffy and rip free.See image 10. Because this is such a large rip in the suit and along a seam which is a high stress area of the suit it needs to be stitched to prevent the join splitting open. For smaller cuts or nicks under an inch you can get away with using the steps so far, stitching is probably not required. I would suggest leaving the suit to fully dry for a few hours before stitching it. Using your needle & nylon thread you can blind stitch the join. Blind stitching is where the needle enters the surface of the wetsuit but does not come out through the other side; this keeps the stitching on the outside and much more comfortable to wear. I like to double over the nylon thread just to make it a little bit stronger. Simply thread you needle and cut a length of the thread and tie an overhand knot in the end. See image 11.
As far as the stitching goes there are probably a few methods out there but I just go for the simple in one side out the other and back over method. Ask the missus and she might even stitch it up for you! When stitching it is important you thread the needle through some of the outside nylon of the suit or the nylon thread will just pull through the neoprene and have no effect. I like to go about 1mm from the edge of the glue like so. If you go much further out the join will start to rise up like a mountain range as you stitch it. *WETSUIT12 IMAGE* After a few stitches you should have something that is looking like this, a nice flat join with even space stitching. Yes I pride myself on my masculine sewing ability. *WETSUIT13 IMAGE* All done. Now you can snip the thread off close to the surface of the wetsuit. See image 14.
The final part to the repair job is quite simply, smear some of that aquaseal goop over the stitching and join. See image 15.
Have another swig of your favoured beverage and then put a good lump of spit on the end of your finger and smooth out the aquaseal over the join to make it smooth. Make sure you spit on your finger so it doesn’t stick, you’ll have a hard time getting it off otherwise. See image 16. Now let the aquaseal fully dry overnight before you go diving in your new hole free suit. The inside should be even and flush, on this particular repair trying to hold a camera and squeeze glue at the same time led to a few drips as you can see. Glad that plastic was there to stop the suit sticking together! See image 17.
There are a few things that can keep your wetsuit being tear and hole free. The first is using appropriate lube for your wetsuit. All open cell wetsuits need to be lubed up to get into. To extend the life of other suits that are metalite, goldslick or titanium lined they should be lubed up too. The easiest lube is simply a few squirts of cheap hair conditioner into a sports bottle and some water. Personal lubricants such as ansell are said to make good wetsuit lubes when mixed with water however I have never tried it. Another great product is Green Goblin, ask around the Sydney clubs and you will be able to track it down. Keeping finger and toe nails trimmed will also reduce the amount of cuts you put on the inside of your suit too. Lastly when possible get someone to help remove your wetsuit jacket (keep the hood on too!) instead of trying to do a ‘get of a straight jacket’ impersonation yourself
The mono on a speargun is one of the most overlooked maintenance job by the average diver. I constantly see divers with ratty, cut, frayed and nicked mono on their guns. This may be fine for shooting a few bream and smaller reef fish but when you go to take that shot on a big jewie, kingfish, mackerel or wahoo you’re going to wish you had changed your mono.
For me personally I change my mono if it gets any sort of nick or cut. If a particular fish during the day runs me around some reef I’ll make a mental note to change that mono. It doesn’t take much for a big fish to trash your mono. One particular rock hop I had just put new mono on the spear and speared a kingfish of 14kg on sand. No damage done to the mono at all however I ran into the school again over some rocky reef and after shooting another 14kg fish and landing him my mono was worse for wear. So much so it was the one time I was wishing I didn’t run into a jewie or cobia, I would have been hesitant to try my luck with mono that had shreds coming off it. Another spot mono wears a lot is the hole in the back of spears, it is essential to make sure these holes are smooth and burr free. Now we know why its important to change your mono out regularly and check it for signs of wear how do we go about doing this? With some spear fishing retailers charging $15 to put a new mono on a speargun it makes sense to do it yourself. These are the basic tools & materials I use to put mono on a speargun.
Pictured are mono (duh!), crimps, crimping tool, lighter, scissors and a speargun waiting for new mono. As for the mono I use 1.80mm stuff as I find it fits in mechanisms better than the 2.0mm variety and doesn’t affect the flight of the spear as much either. For this mono I use 2.2mm crimps (also sold as 2mm crimps in dive shops). Brand is debatable but I have been having great success with Shibahira brand. Other popular brands are Shogun and Jinkai. I use double barrel copper crimps as they are very strong and in my opinion hold the mono better than a single sleeve crimp such as the aluminium variety. You can also use your copper crimps on stainless cable for slip tips ect but you can’t use aluminium as it will corrode out.
As for the crimping tool make sure you get a double actuated type not a single actuated like a pair of pliers. A good set will cost around $50-$90 depending on where you shop. I use a pair of Hi-Seas brand and they work great for me. Steer clear of tools where the jaws do not line up correctly as they will deform the crimp. Omer brand crimpers are notorious for this and are green in colour and sometimes sold under the Hi-Seas brand in dive shops so be sure to check the origin before buying up. Getting started. I tend to uncoil a few metres of mono from the roll rather than cutting a piece off because this means no wastage (even though it is cheap). We start by threading a crimp into the mono and inserting it through the spear. I personally rig all my guns over the left of the muzzle, just how I have done but most people will go over the right hand side of the muzzle.
If your going over the left hand like myself you will thread the mono through the left hand side of the spear so the mono sits nicely and runs up that side of the gun and doesn’t cross over. If you run your mono over the right hand side simply thread the mono through the right hand side of the spear first. I use a lighter to burn a little blob of mono on the end. This prevents crimp pull throughs and makes it easier to adjust the position of the crimp prior to crimping. I adjust the loop size so the crimp sits on the flat part of the spear so it goes through the muzzle with ease. Make sure your loop isn’t too long or it will sit over the notch in the spear and make it a pain to load the bridle into the notch. Now using the appropriate hole size on the crimping tool you start the crimping in the middle of the crimp like so. Make sure you squeeze it good and proper. Next we move out to the ends but not all the way.
Leave approximately 1.5mm from the end uncrimped. If you crimp right on the end it pinches the mono and if the crimp does slip it will get shredded very fast, if a crimp slips and its got the ends flared out it won’t shred and you will still land the fish with any luck. So now you have the mono neatly crimped to the spear. Put the spear into the gun to check how it all fits. It should slide into the mechanism with ease. As I mentioned earlier I run the mono to the left of the gun on the left hand side of the muzzle like so. Run this back down to the line release and up to the clip on the front of the gun. Make sure the mono is firm but not over tight as mono shrinks in water. Nylon is porous and absorbs the salt water which dries and the salt is crystallised into the nylon which makes it expand in width which shortens it. With the other end of the mono form a small loop about 1cm from the end of the clip whilst holding the mono on the gun firm. This extra 1cm distance will have the mono at the proper tension and will alleviate the need for bungies or shock absorbers. With an open muzzle gun I would recommend perhaps 2cm for a slightly tighter shooting line. Now cut the mono loop with enough room to fit a crimp into the mono.
After threading and burning the end of the mono on the crimp you will have an uncrimped loop like so. This is where you double check the distance from the clip on the muzzle to the loop on the mono. Adjust it to the right place and crimp it like before starting in the centre of the crimp and then crimping the outsides leaving 1.5mm distance from the ends uncrimped. All that’s left to do now is take the mono off the shooting line and attach it to the clip on the muzzle and you’re done! Here’s one I prepared earlier Out of interest if you have a gun that will only ever be rigged with a pranger you can do away with the clip on the front of the gun and crimp the mono directly to the muzzle. Just one less thing to worry about because you don’t need to unclip the mono to thread a spear through the fish because the pranger won’t (shouldn’t) fire all the way through the fish.
ISo there it is. The initial outlay to buy a proper crimping tool, mono & some crimps might be around $100 give or take depending on where you shop but at $15 a pop to change mono at a dive shop you will be more willing to change it out and no go for a dive with mono that ‘will do for today’ and get a whole lot more value for money.
Vinegar may kill rather than cure victims of box jellyfish stings, Queensland researches found. The remedy, used for decades, causes up to 60 per cent more venom from the lethal jellyfish to discharched into the victim.
The finding prompted calls for the Australian Resuscitation Council to revise its sting treatment guidelines.
Research co-author and venom specialist Jamie Seymour says the research changed hist mind about vinegar.
An oil discharge into Botany Bay during heavy rain last month has highlighted the potential impact that industry and natural weather events can have on our urban waterways. Following the release of oily water into Botany Bay by Caltex Refineries as part of the company’s stormwater management emergency procedures at its Kurnell premises, oil was blown to the northern shoreline and onto rock platforms at Congwong and Little Congwong beaches. NSW Environment Protection Authority Chief Environmental Regulator Mark Gifford said businesses, individuals, emergency response services and regulatory authorities such as the EPA all have a role to play to prevent and/or minimise impacts to the environment during such incidents.
“While pollution incidents can often be exacerbated or even caused by extreme weather events such as heavy rain, environmental impacts such as that which occurred following this incident on 24 March are unacceptable,” said Mr Gifford. “Industries regulated by the EPA under Environment Protection Licences (EPL) have a duty to report pollution incidents threatening or causing harm to the environment, and are required to prepare Pollution Incident Response Management Plans. “The EPA also relies on members of the public who are aware of pollution to report incidents so the appropriate authorities can act as soon as possible.” There are a number of regulatory authorities who respond to water pollution incidents, including councils, marine authorities and Sydney Water, but in the first instance people can call the EPA’s Environment Line, 131 555, 24 hours a day seven days a week to report incidents. The appropriate response agency is determined by the nature, size, source and location of the water pollution incident. Typically, small incidents are managed by the local council, but if the incident involves hazardous materials, an emergency response service such as Ports Authority, Roads and Maritime Services or NSW Fire and Rescue will be the lead combat agency in charge of the initial clean-up. The EPA provides assistance and advice to combat agencies during incidents when requested and investigates suspected breaches of environmental laws. “Regardless of whether or not the EPA has been asked to assist during an incident, as the state’s lead environmental regulator we will always have officers on standby to attend and assess any environmental impacts,” said Mr Gifford.
“The EPA takes into account a range of factors when determining our response to pollution incidents. This includes the degree of environmental harm, health impacts, community expectations and the actions of the offender,” said Mr Gifford. “We have a range of regulatory tools we can use to achieve environmental compliance, including formal warnings, clean up or prevention notices, mandatory audits, enforceable undertakings, penalty notices, legally binding pollution reduction programs and prosecutions. “Our regulatory response is designed to hold the polluter to account, raise awareness about the problem, encourage behavioural change and repair any environment damage.” In the case of the Botany Bay incident, the EPA issued Caltex with clean-up notices to implement an ecological assessment program. The EPA is also conducting a detailed investigation into the incident. For more information on reporting pollution and the relevant regulatory authorities throughout NSW: EPA’s water pollution contact page. Meanwhile, people shouldn’t swim at ocean or harbour beaches during or after heavy rain. For more warnings about safe swimming, beach pollution forecasts for the Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regions and the State of the Beaches 2012-13 report, visit Beachwatch NSW.
Other helpful links and contacts: All boat owners should understand their responsibilities for preventing pollution under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
It wasn't easy waking up to hear reports that a spearfisher had been struck by a boat back home. It was early one morning, while I was holidaying at Surfers Paradise QLD, when I heard on the radio that a spearfisher had been struck by a boat off the coast of Currarong on the NSW South Coast. I immediately woke to grab my phone and started the frantic calls to check if it was one of my dive buddies. Three out of Four answered their phone. One phone went through to message bank.
I hopped online, switched on the TV and started looking for information. An hour had passed and I still didn't have a return call. I had a gut feeling that he was gone. FaceBook started to wake up and many posts started appearing in the online spearfishing fraternity trying desperately to find information. It was about half an hour later that I read on a mates wall “R.I.P” posted by a friend. It was now obvious to me, that the worse had happened to one of my good dive mates.
The day passed with many thoughts, mainly all the times that we went diving together and all the early morning calls that I would get, nagging me to go diving. Its only now that I am thankful that I did drag myself out of bed and go have a dive.
Months passed before I got back into the water. It was only then that I realised the dangers of diving. I had numerous close calls before with boats, but never really thought anything of it. We were a drop in the ocean, I thought. We would have to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the wrong 30cm x 30cm section of water, I thought. It would never happen to me or a mate, I thought. Oh how wrong I was.
Even though he was using a float and flag, was experienced and knew the area well, he still died.
At the time of writing, just over a year has passed. A day does not go by without the thought of a good mate passing away. I hope that this short life experience of mine at least gets one of you to use a float and flag, dive with a buddy and keep a damm good lookout.
I wish no one to go through the pain that I did. I wish that everyone in the ocean could work in harmony. Please keep the rules of diving at the forefront of every breath and dive safe.
Shallow water blackout is a loss of consciousness caused by cerebral hypoxia towards the end of a breath-hold dive in water typically shallower than five metres (16 feet), when the swimmer does not necessarily experience an urgent need to breathe and has no other obvious medical condition that might have caused it. It can be caused by taking several very deep breaths, or hyperventilating, just before a dive. Victims are often established practitioners of breath-hold diving, are fit, strong swimmers, and have not experienced problems before.
Samba is a loss of motor control. It is a partial loss of physical or mental integrity and generally occurs up to 15 seconds after reaching the surface, normally during your first breath after a dive. It happens due to not having enough oxygen in your brain.
Watch this video on Sambas and Blackouts by Erez Beatus an AIDA Freediving Instructor and Judge, Former Freediving Coach for Israel and Former Freediving World Record Holder.
Thankyou and credit to the North Shore Underwater Club and Erez for this essential and valuable safety video.
THE KINGFISH CUP – A yearlong competition split into three geographical zones along the coast where each quarter divers submit photos and a 200 word story of their capture to the USFA. All entries will be posted online on our website and on the USFA Facebook Page. Great quarterly prizes and bragging rights will be up for grabs. There will be a Kingfish Cup shirt with iron on transfers available for divers to record their catches on their shirts as bragging rights. This is mainly aimed at the younger demographic who frequent the social media and aims to create friendly competition and all round traffic to the website.
The spin offs for this will be the exposure the website and Facebook sites gain and the follow on quality information and resources we can then offer from that same site. It will also tie in with the sponsorship with the traffic justifying the support from suppliers for prizes. Long term archives will be created full of photos and stories which will in themselves be a drawcard to the site as the entries grow. This is just a brief overview, but we are not far off having everything in place for this program to go live!
Bob McComb, Chairman, the Adventure and Safari Association of NSW
USFA Event - 7 May 2009
Good evening everyone, thank you all for coming tonight. Many of you already know me. For those who don’t, I started spearfishing 35 years ago and joined my first hunting club at the same time. I fished the Alliman Shield for 16 years and whilst I was never a successful comp diver, I managed to fluke a few good fish along the way. Fifteen years ago I was involved with the foundation of a recreational fishing lobby group, Angler’s Action group and have been elected to the committee since.
Currently I have been honoured by being selected as a mentor for the Future Leaders program for the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
Tonight I will be talking about conservation. However I am not a biologist, except in the practical sense. I own a deer farm and practice Game Management on several properties. The hat that I am wearing tonight, or should I say, the khaki shirt and pants, is as the Chairman for the Adventure and Safari Industry Association of New South Wales, an organisation which you will no doubt hear a lot more about in the coming months and years. Continue reading A Practical Approach to Conservation through the Sustainable Use of Wildlife→