BAYVIEW = Gone to the Dogs!

Well it wasn’t a good forecast for the Sunday of the Alliman with gale force winds and a big swell running all week not helping. But the brave sport secretaries of each club voted for the comp to be on and on the dawning of the day a dozen boats and nearly forty divers turned up to compete on what turned out to be a pretty good day. After the safety talk the boats motored slowly down the four knot channel to Pittwater and the open ocean. Weigh in was at 1:30pm sharp and luckily all divers were back in the ring well before the cut off time. The weighing and scoring commenced and as we were next to the huge dog park we had a lot of interested persons and their canine friends to see the fish that came in. One cute pooch modelled the Aussie spearfishing team cap (available from me for $25, please support your team!) and another cute little Maltese helped Gordy with the scores! (See pics). The ‘Adreno’ Most Meritorious Fish winners for this competition are Ben’s (STG) big bream for the senior category and young Eddie Sherb (SSD) with a 48pt Reef Leatherjacket, prizes will be presented before the competition at Long Reef. Remember anyone can win win one of these prizes but only if you compete!
Following an official complaint made to the Department of Primary Industries about a false statement made in the Hawkesbury Shelf Bioregion Assessment concerning spearfishing, Mel Brown has gotten an apology on behalf of spearfishing.
The two pieces of correspondence mentioned are published here:

From Mel Brown:

To: Geoff Allen @dpi.nsw.gov.au,
Attached are copies of correspondence to Peter Gallagher and Minister Niall Blair concerning a false statement that appears in a document of the Hawkesbury shelf Bioregion.
Peter Gallagher has neither acknowledged receipt of this document or responded to it.
Previously the reasoning for excluding spearfishing from the North Harbour Aquatic reserve whilst continuing to allow other forms of recreational fishing was only made in correspondence to the USFA. To now see this claim, which was utterly false, appearing in print necessitates the strongest possible response.
There was, and never has been, a legitimate reason to exclude spearfishers from this reserve where other forms of fishing are allowed.
Yours sincerely Mel Brown AM

DPI's response to Mel:

Nth Hbr Aqu Res Pg 1 200616Nth Hbr Aqu Res Pg 2 200616Nth Hbr Aqu Res Pg 3 200616

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.