Snorkel described as lethal in Australian Parliament

Ping Pong Ball Snorkle
Ping Pong Ball Snorkel

Dr M. H. Cass (ALP VIC) told Federal Parliament in March that an underwater snorkel on sale in Australia was lethal.

He asked the Prime Minister, Mr Gorton, to investigate the sale of the snorkel.

Mr Gorton agreed to make the inquiries.

The snorkel was described by Dr Cass as a long, underwater breathing snorkel with Ping-Pong valves.

He said that an 8 year old boy had drowned in three feet of water while using the snorkel.

From: The Fisherman Winter, 1970 pg. 21.

Official Complaint regarding content in Hawkesbury Bioregions accompanying documents

Monday, 14 March 2016

Mr. Peter Gallagher
Program Leader – Marine Protected Areas
Locked Bag 1
NELSON BAY NSW 2315

Dear Peter

OFFICIAL COMPLAINT

I am writing to lodge an official complaint re a statement in one of the Hawkesbury Bioregions accompanying documents “Review of 15 Pre – identified Sites”.

If you are not the appropriate person to deal with this complaint could you please advise ASAP.

On page 34 which deals with the North Harbour Reserve it justifies the lock – out of spearfishers with this statement “Rationale for excluding spearfishing was based on research from the U.S.A. at the time of declaration (1982) which indicated that this fishing method makes fish less approachable by passive divers wanting to photograph or study them (DPI internal 1979)”.

 This statement is a little milder than that made in writing in correspondence from B. Lynch for G.H. Knowles Director General Department of Agriculture to George Davies (Federal Secretary of the Australian Underwater Federation) dated 29th October 1985 – “The rationale for excluding spearfishing from the North Harbour Reserve is based on studies conducted in the United States of America which has shown that spearfishing, as opposed to most other common methods of fishing, scares the fish to the extent that they are no longer readily approachable by divers wanting to photograph or study them”.

 This statement was fraudulent and dishonest then and remains fraudulent, dishonest and misleading to this day.

 On receiving a copy of the above correspondence I queried the validity of this statement in correspondence to George Davies dated 29th November 1985 as I had copies of all known spearfishing studies and immediately suspected this statement was false.

George Davies again wrote to the Director General (undated, copy received by me on 5/2/86) requesting a copy of this “study” to enable us to determine its relevance to Australian conditions.

Following a meeting of the Recreational Fishermen’s Advisory Council George Davies received a verbal apology from Dr. Peter Ayres, Director of Fisheries for “some sections of the previous letter (29/10/85” however this was never put in writing and no copy of the “study” was produced, prompting another written request.

George Davies wrote again on 17th June 1986 after finally receiving a copy of an article concerning spearfishing in the United States of America. He said in part “In referring to this particular letter (29/10/1985) I find the information therein extremely misleading and inaccurate”.

The “study” had turned out to be nothing more than an article published in the American magazine “Skin Diver” by Bill Barada concerning the neglect of the John Pennekamp State Park and voicing a personal opinion as to spearfishing by the author.

To construe this article as a “study” or having any scientific validity is quite simply reprehensible.

At this particular period of time spearfishing with Scuba was (and still is) extremely prevalent in the U.S.A., whilst spearfishers in NSW had been pro-active in ensuring Scuba spearfishing was prohibited thus providing a depth sanctuary, an initiative that has been extremely successful in conserving shallow water species.

These facts never received any consideration, nor was any expert advice sought from spearfishing representatives in NSW.

An underwater photographer’s biggest problem when photographing fish is the noise his Scuba makes, both on inhalation and exhalation. This is what scares Fish! And this is why professional photographers employ breath – hold diving techniques or use Re – breathers when taking fish photo’s.

The whole art of successful spearfishing is to be able to approach fish without scaring them. The argument that fish are so scared by spearfishing that they are not approachable by other divers is ridiculous and once more evidence of prejudicial treatment by the Department.

I have several times found it necessary to accuse NSW Fisheries of prejudice when dealing with spearfishing matters. This has always been denied but there is no clearer case of prejudice than what has occurred with the locking – out of spearfishers from the North Harbour reserve.

PREJUDICE

An opinion, judgement or evaluation conceived without proof or competent evidence, but based on what seems valid to one’s own mind.

 PREJUDICIAL

Injurious, detrimental

 To be frank I am thoroughly disgusted that after all the correspondence from us concerning this issue, a statement that was corrupt and malicious and injurious to our fishing method is still persisting.

My last correspondence on this issue was to the Manager, Protected Areas on 15th May 2001.

One of my greatest concerns with my many dealings with Fisheries over the years is their inability to be frank and honest and to admit to mistakes and rectify them. The same applies equally to governments (of all persuasions).

My writing to you is just the first step. I am quite prepared to take this as far as necessary to have this injustice rectified.

Could you please advise as a matter of urgency your department’s intentions regarding a resolution?

Yours sincerely
Melven Brown AM

South Coast Championships 2016

The South Coast Champs held at Ulladulla was an outstanding success for the Southern Zone. Great weather, well run with a record sign on - 20 boats ranging from Alby’s refurbished 6 meter Haines down to vintage 1960’s Tinnies and the proverbial rubber duck. The SCC was run in conjunction with the Taylor Shield. 55 signed on for the SCC and all divers weighed in. There was a good representation from the Neptune’s, the Sea Lions, Barracudas and of course the Workers. It was the traditional 2 day format, with a quality fish format. 5 hours on Saturday and 6 hours on Sunday. The seas were virtually flat with only a small ground swell to give a bit of white water. Not a puff of wind for the 2 days. Visibility was a varied feast, from plankton rich cool 3 meters to a much warmer 15 meters or more. Spoilt for choice at Ulladulla some boats travelled North and South, near and far while others stayed put and fished the local bommies to great success ( if you could dive the murk.)

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Continue reading South Coast Championships 2016

Big Fish Competition – 2016

Big Fish Competition Results 2016

After a postponed comp on 27th February the comp was held the following Saturday, 5th March.

Open

  1. Steve Nash Kingfish 15700
  2. Darren Coulter Kingfish 15500
  3. Kyle Johnston Kingfish 13700
  4. Luke Beckinsale Kingfish 13100
  5. Alby Cooke Kingfish 11200
  6. Steve Elias Black Drummer 2380
  7. Jacob Elias Black Drummer 2200
  8. Guy Thornycroft Gold Spot 1700
  9. Bill Rule Spangled Emperor 1390
  10. Angus McCook Morwong 1000

Junior

  1. Hayden Montgomery Gold Spot 2180
  2. Patrick McGimpsey Black Drummer 1810
  3. James Blair Red Morwong 800
Haden Mongomery
Haden Mongomery

Big Fish 2016 - photo 4 Big Fish 2016 - photo 1

Alby Cook
Alby Cook

Sydney Cup 2016

The Sydney Cup was held this year on Sunday 31st January; it was a calm day when driving down to Gunnamatta Bay with a fog forming over Botany Bay. As the divers gathered for the sign on and safety talk the weather cleared and it promised to be a good day for spearfishing.

Divers had come from all around with divers from the South Coast Barracudas, Newcastle Neptunes, Sans Souci Dolphins, Mosman Whalers, Central Coast Sealions & Revesby Workers attending with many of them juniors and sub juniors. There was the standard safety talk on emphasising the importance of flags on individual divers floats (mandatory), and the need for boat drivers to be extremely careful in and around divers floats. Twenty eight divers then walked down the hill to their boats to travel down Gunnamatta Bay and the open ocean.

The competition end was scheduled for 2:30pm and thankfully all were back well in time. The weigh in was then conducted and Tony a supporter of the Zone was there with a fantastic BBQ lunch of Portugese chicken, salad and plenty of iced drinks, a real social atmosphere with plenty of members catching up for a chat and a catch up.

Simon Trippe & Natalie VercoeThe presentation was held at about 4pm with Simon Trippe as the presentation host and ably assisted by the glamorous Natalie Vercoe presenting the trophies, awards and prizes. The prizes were donated by Adreno Spearfishing who is a great supporter of spearfishing in NSW.

Congratulations to the Sydney Cup 2016 champion, the well-deserved Jack Lavender from the Barracudas with a score of 903pts which was way ahead of the next score of Evan Leeson’s (SSD) of 575pts, Jack reportedly ran all the way down to Port Kembla seeking clear water and found it.

Jack Lavender - Sydney Cup 2016 winner
Jack Lavender - Sydney Cup 2016 winner

In the age categories Grand Master was won by Patrick Mullins (SSD), Master Joe Hyzdal (SCB), Veteran Simon Trippe (SSD), Senior Jack Lavender (SCB), Intermediate Graeme Casey (MW), Junior Josh Green (NN) & Sub Junior Patrick McGimpsey, congratulations all. They shared in the quality prizes donated by Adreno including a speargun, diving fins, numerous smaller prizes like sun glasses, gloves booties and other accessories, this was much appreciated by all who received them.

The day was a lot of fun with a lot of the old hands being there as well as some new faces. Competition diving is a lot of fun and not as hard as most envisage. If you want to find out more and a list of upcoming competitions go onto the USFA website, usfa.org.au or contact any of the executives listed on the site.

Results:

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