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HOSTED BY METROPOLITAN ZONE SPEARFISHING

The annual state spearfishing titles was hosted the Metro Zone and there were a number of locations earmarked in Sydney for this two day competition on both sides of the Harbour. Divers came from all over from Coffs Harbour (Cheers Brian) and up from Kiama (Max).
Sunday dawned with heavy overcast conditions and rain as the divers gathered in Robertson Park next to the historic Watsons Bay hotel. The safety talk was conducted and the divers jumped into the boats and headed out slowly to outside the moorings where the event start was made from Matt Poulton’s boat. The rain was a dampener but as the forecast promised sunny conditions later in the day the fifty brave divers headed out into Sydney Harbour hoping for good conditions. As it turned out the conditions were great slight sea light winds, 15 – 20m visibility outside and up to 10m even in the Harbour even though it was low tide. All the boats and divers made it back by the 1:15pm finish time and the fish were lined up at the weigh in table ready for the scoring. At this stage a crowd gathered to see the fish and ask plenty of questions. There was also some fish donated to the onlookers which made us very popular!
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 http://usfa.org.au/usfas-issues-hawkesbury-shelf-marine-bioregion-assessment/
[caption id="attachment_1811" align="aligncenter" width="864"]A better picture showing the expanse of the region under assessment The Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion under assessment[/caption] The Assessment has identified 15 main sites and 44 additional sites. The implications are that as many of these sites as possible will be locked up for good. 
Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregionAs many of you are aware there is a huge push to create another marine park from Newcastle to Wollongong. We are working as hard as we can to minimise the impacts to  spear fishers as much as possible. We set to lose out big time here especially as shallow reefs and headlands <25m include 95% of the areas that we dive.