The Sydney Kingfish Cup

What is the Kingfish Cup?

The Kingfish Cup is about spearing a kingfish, over one weekend in Sydney’s prime Kingfish season, traditionally this is late October through November.

Where is it held?

“Greater Sydney” is the area entrants may enter. It stretches from Bird Island in the Central Coast to Bass Point in the South covering just over 250 kilometres of coastline. Weigh in Stations are at Adreno Sydney itself, Little Manly in Sydney Harbour, and Terrigal, on the Central Coast.

Who enters the KFC?

Such a wide-ranging demographic of both age, sex, and area.  Going on recent years we are expecting over 200 spearfishers entering including sub juniors from 14 years of age right up to Grand Masters (over 65’s), Ladies entries have been strong (9 ladies competed last year). Divers come from as far as Queensland to fish the event. Those who are not competitively focused also fish the Kingfish Cup. We also get relative newcomers fish the Kingfish Cup some of which spearing their first kingfish in the event.

How does it work?

The USFA runs the event, Adreno Spearfishing and its partners are a big part of the Cup and sponsor the Cup, and we work with the Adreno Sydney team to make it the success this community event has become.  Prior to the Cup, some 8 days before, we host a “get together” at Adreno – putting on some great food – one of our members creates amazing paella, we explain the simple rules, we have guest speakers (spearfishing gurus) that discuss kingfish habits and hunting tips, and this year we have some great scientific data being divulged on Kingfish by a team that is tracking fish via satellite.  A great social night that includes several prizes being given out, for the attendees, and for the early bird registers, including one major prize (to be announced). 

Since the running of the inaugural event in 2019 we have seen healthy registration numbers from 170 to well over 200 entrants, thus it requires a lot of organising from an efficient team.  Entrants register online, they are given details of the event and how to “sign on” and “sign off” (any times between 0800 and 1600 you may fish multiple times on a day) on each day – (some entrants fish only one day) this lets organisers know who is in the water and importantly when they are back out – safety is paramount.  On safety, the organisers also make the decision on postponing the days fishing if the weather is decided to be inclement.

The fish are weighed in at the weigh stations, we try to keep the weights discreet to build some atmosphere for the presentation night the Thursday following the event.

The event is ethical! Sustainable too!

Kingfish are in healthy numbers along Australia’s east coast. Take 2023, when we held the Cup over two days, we had 235 divers in the water for approximately 1343 hours, of the fish that were caught it worked out to over 83.9 hours of effort per fish, with an average weight of 9.5 kilograms per fish.  Spearfishing is amazing.

Dates to remember!!

  • 1 – The information night –

To kick off the biggest event on Sydney’s spearfishing seasonal calendar we host a social & information night to bring the community together under one roof to set the scene for the following weekends event.
This Kingfish cup was born out of necessity, a competition built to bring our communities together in a sustainable and ethically focused competition with divers from all around Australia participating. A competition driven by inclusion, from the most experienced to aspiring greenhorn learning the ropes and piecing it together. This is what spearfishing is all about. Mateship, adventure, respect for the fishery and healthy competition.


A Q&A panel with kingfish gurus such as Aaron Puckeridge, Derrick Cruz, Matt Poulton, Josh Ward, Artie Mensdorff along with past champion’s the night’s goal is to share experiences and knowledge around Sydney Spearfishing with a focus on the Kingfish species. Feedback from you has been requested on the science of this fishery, and we are giving this to you on the night, we have a very dedicated team who have been satellite tracking large Yellowtail Kingfish off our coastline and they are excited to be sharing their findings with us on the evening. An evening meal catered by the Paella King Rico, throw in  some sensational door prizes for those in attendance on the night, and to those who early bird register for the Cup, the night is shaping up to be a ripper.

This social event will be bigger than the Cup itself!

  • 2Adreno Sydney Kingfish Cup – the main event! Held over two days on the second weekend of November

  • 3 – The Presentation – held the following Thursday after the Cup is held

Another fantastic social evening, where many of the entrants gather, again at Adreno Sydney Superstore, mingle and talk about the one that got away while enjoying some quality food while anticipating the results.  Sponsors for the event are amazing and the 2023 event saw over $15 000 of prizes given out.

We look forward to greeting you at the next Kingfish Cup!

Save the Date: Sans Souci Dolphins Beach Cleanup – JULY 28th

The Dolphins annual beach clean up is coming! Save the date for Sunday July 28th.

Meeting at Long Bay, Malabar, this year the beach and ocean area being cleaned will be Little Bay.

Food and refreshments will be provided after the event. All divers are welcome to come along and be part of the clean up in what is always a great social event.

Meet at Malabar Beach between 0730-0800 the day will finish up around 12pm.

Norah Hammerheads

The beginnings of a new spearfishing club on the Central Coast

At the start of February, the discussion came up between a few mates Alex and Craig Bond, Brett Carter, Beau Mellon & myself about a spearfishing club based at the north end of the Central Coast. As much as we loved diving with, and being part of the Central Coast Sealions, the distance was a problem for us getting to the meetings and dives that were out of Terrigal. The Central Coast is a huge area, and it can take an hour and a half, or more, to get from one end to the other.

The discussion was had with a few of the Sealions committee, and once it was explained about the reasons behind our decision, we had the blessing of our southern Central Coast brethren, and we were away brainstorming.

This was something that we were motivated to make happen, so it was time to start thinking of a name and where we would call home. Norah Head was a no brainer for us, most of the crew that was part of the discussion were only about 15 minutes from there, so that was locked in. Then the question, what was to be our mascot? A few ideas were floated around (pun intended) Norah Head Sea Wasps, no, too close to Sealions. Norah Head Tridents or Vikings, nah, then a few joke names like The Lake Macquarie Mermen and my son Flynn said we should call ourselves the Fishy Fellas. Then it came – The Norah Hammerheads. We had a name!

What’s the next thing a club needs? A space for meetings and presentations etc. The hunt began for a spot that had a few key things for us. Enough room to accommodate 10-20 people, surely that’s enough for a start -club, space for our kids to go and play (get out of our hair for a little bit), a good feed and cold beer. Brett visited a few places before coming across a hidden gem, the Norah Head Sporties. Well the name fits with ours, so big tick there. Time to test the food and beer, tick again. A meeting was set up with the CEO and not long into our talk she told us that their club was in need of a new sporting group for them to sponsor, so a few things were thrown back and forth and we had an agreement for The Norah Head Sporties to be our first sponsor and be our home base.

So, we set up our first meeting and decided that for us and people with families and work commitments that a Sunday afternoon would be a great time for a meeting. Then we could have the meeting and then if anyone wanted to, they could stick around for dinner or drink and have a bit more of a relaxed catch up. And what a meeting it was! Not long after our start time of 4.30 the room started filling up fast, and by the time everyone piled in there was standing room only.

Then an intro to our Club’s committee – Alex Bond was chairing the meeting and was to head up the Club as President, he has been diving since he was washing pee out of his dad’s wetsuits and his passion to teaching his own kids about the sustainability of spearfishing and building their skills in the sport is amazing to see, nobody better for this role. Brett Carter as Vice President, another great advocate for the sport that has been diving since he was (still is) a young fella. He is always available to offer advice wherever he can help, just make sure to double check comp start times that he tells you. Craig Bond as Treasurer. Now there wouldn’t be many around the spearing community that don’t know Craig, with his wealth (and years) of knowledge, I know he has taught me a thing or 2 in the few dives I have been with him, he has plenty of experience in the committee side of clubs and will be a key to keeping us in line and on track for our goals. Beau Mellon as Sports Secretary, Beau was the very first person I dove with when starting out and for a young bloke he is definitely one of the best spearos I have been out with. And then myself, Justin Elsey, as Secretary. Only a few years in the sport, but absolutely love it and the friendships that I have made over my time doing it. If I’m not in the water, I’m out on it in my boat. 

We were also lucky enough to have Bob McComb attend and give the fresh and experienced divers a in the room a detailed talk about the USFA.

After all the formalities were done with, a count of the membership applications we had taken in for the day. 33 including us!! We did not expect that at all! The next day we also had another 3 join us, bringing the total to 36, and the breakdown of the following classes 5x sub junior, 2x junior, 2x intermediate, 13x senior, 7x veteran, 6x ladies and 1x Grand Master. And we still have a few more messaging us about joining up, so we are all very thankful for the support received so far and are extremely excited to see where this is going to take us.  

Justin – Norah Hammerheads

Club Secretary

[email protected]

Welcome Norah Hammerheads

New Spearfishing Club from the Central Coast joins the USFA

Exciting news as the USFA welcomes the latest spearfishing club to join the USFA – The Norah Hammerheads! The continued growth of spearfishing in the outer reaches of the greater Sydney area continues, and the Hammerheads will be a tremendous asset to spearfishing, based loosely around the Norah Head to Swansea region, Norah Head boat ramp being the local, the Club Committee consists of

President: Alex Bond Vice President: Brett Carter Treasurer: Craig Bond Secretary: Justin Elsey Sports Secretary: Beau Mellon

The foundation for the club is based on bringing families and the community together for a bit social fun and some friendly competition with the added bonus of putting some fresh healthy fish on the dinner table. A focus on giving education and support to new members of all ages to the sport, teaching safety awareness, understanding the rules and regulation in regards to safe boating and legal capture of species, and to promote the sustainable sport of Spearfishing in a positive way.

The Hammerheads will have regular meetings at the Norah Head Sports Club, third Sunday of the month from 1630. The USFA Committee and members wish “The Hammers” all the best and we look forward to seeing you grow and develop your membership under the auspices of the Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association.

USFA AGM 2023

Underwater Spear Fishers Association NSW
AGM 2023 June 8th

Attendance
Lee Dalli (NSUC)
Ian Buck (NSUC)
Parry Gryllis (SSD)
Simon Trippe (SSD
Ricardo Casquete (SSD)
Patrick Ireland (PHP)
Alastair Cooke (CCSL) Sam K (SSD)
Apologies
David Leha (Mulloways)
Stephen Park (Whalers)
Michael Song (Orcas)

Meeting begins 1945

Minutes from previous meeting discussed, no business arising.

President’s Report for USFA AGM 2023
Where do I begin…. The past 15 months have flown since the extraordinary AGM was called, a new committee was ushered in, and overall, the time has seen relative smooth sailing. Much has occurred so I will attempt to keep them brief:
USFA has become better understood by NSW and in particular Sydney spearos are seeing how the USFA assists spearfishing; the NSW government and Fisheries are aware of what we can do, communications have been good and we have been given audiences upon request such as the Fisheries Minister meeting spearos to hear our concerns and proposals on slot sizes, marine parks and Mulloway; the Sydney Kingfish Cup was a resounding success; our new spearfishing club the Mulloways our First Nations Spearfishing club associated with us have held three cultural camps; the AUF finally reciprocated a temporary membership fee for USFA members to enter their events, thank you Tom Sandstrom AUF NSW Secretary for pushing this through; myself and other USFA members have engaged in great discussion with AUF, both State and at National level, and while on the AUF I would like to congratulate Arnold Piccoli on becoming the new National Spearfishing Chairman.
There have been lots of positives over this committee’s tenure.
What lies ahead, hopefully lots more positives. A meeting with the current DPI Minister and DPI director general is planned; a spearfishing only National body has been discussed this could be happening by next year, and I keep my fingers crossed for this, a stand-alone spearfishing body, ASA – Australian Spearfishing Association is one name that has been bandied about. For now, the USFA will continue to work within NSW and assist all spearfishers on education, safety, and accessibility.
On the latter – accessibility to spatial areas we share with other stakeholders: Bongin Bongin at Mona Vale is an all-access area excellent for beginner spearfishers, and well used by rock fishers, being proposed by a swimmer’s group to be the latest no take Aquatic reserve (which is really a sanctuary) labelling the area unique. This community action group seem intent to exclude certain stakeholders read – fishers and spearos from an area that is a well-loved and used safe location for all age groups. We have members on the ground dealing with the local council, and involved in an action group rallying for continued all stakeholder access, common sense should prevail here. Safe access is always going to be on our agenda as we use the same areas as many other user groups, as you are aware we spearfishers are restricted by depth and of course ocean conditions and we should not have access denied because another stakeholder feels their point of view is just. Please, USFA members, if ever you are contacted by your Association to complete a submission, or to attend an action meeting near you, please consider doing so.
Note: The Bongin Bongin issue went to a council meeting and saw what one councillor stated “the largest gathering at a meeting in his time” the room was packed with fishers, USFA members, and representatives from the Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party. The Indigenous lands council sent in an email that did not support the proposal for a marine park. Dr Marcus Lincoln-Smith a marine scientist spoke well on spearfishers behalf, and the Liberal councillors also supported fishers, all this support and assistance resulted in a commonsense victory for fishers.
In the coming year ahead, I would like to see our back of house further tidied up – means also increasing some fees; a state-wide, open to all spearfishers, spearfishing event occurring – watch this space; an organised training reference for use by the USFA clubs to assist Juniors and newcomers’ skills and safety development complemented with a sustainable and ethical purpose.
I’ll finish by saying I have enjoyed being in the President’s role and with that its responsibilities, and that wouldn’t be possible without having so many people to lean on, therefore I would like to thank the committee who have supported me this past 15 months, David Leha, Parry Gryllis, Alby Cooke, Ian Buck, Evan Leeson, Lee Dalli, Sam K, and Ricardo Casquete. You have all lent me your ear, given me sage advice and been instrumental in seeing the USFA sailing well. Not to forget the Club delegates and workers such as Steve Park (Whalers), Patrick Ireland, Marty Kieselbach, Tony Couchman, and Gary Baxter (Penguins), Sahil Prasad, Ben Lake, Vita Malukova (Dolphins), Michael Song and Bob McComb (Orcas), Adam Price and Justin Delaney (Sea Hawks), again I will mention David Leha (Mulloways), David you have been inspiring to me to see all that you have done for your community at large and the USFA will endeavour to assist you over the years with your projects; too, Craig Seadog, yes, the Seadog gets a mention, Craig you have been a champion for spearfishing, those who know you know this, thank you. There are many, many others too, think all of you who I have engaged in conversation with, that have helped me along this journey. Thank you.
Yours in safe spearfishing
Simon Trippe

Treasurer’s report
Evan Leeson
• $21,000 in savings account
• $2,400 in “funny money” account pays the small bills without needing multiple signatures.
• Stripe, $9700 since November (1700 a month), covers bills.
• Bills to pay.
o Every month to pay for website service.
• $25 a month
o $220 for RFA membership affiliation (Recreational Fishing Alliance)

o $600 for TidyHQ
• Mailouts, handle payments, memberships
• New rate coming in for TidyHQ of $800
o Insurance
o Policies
• 1. $7,600
• 2. $6,400
• $14,000 to pay as lump sum.
• USFA has no cashflow risk.

o Schedule of fees
• Sam K brought up the schedule of fees that they should be reviewed.
• Orcas pay a token fee.
• Mulloways pay a token fee.
• Before June 30, so July we can release.
• Take note in minutes.

• USFA apology to Sam Clothier
o Sam Clothier contacted USFA President Simon Trippe about incidents occurring with previous USFA president Scott Williams. Legal action against the USFA was discussed.
o After assistance from Adam Price (former USFA Secretary supplying all minutes of all USFA and USFA Sydney Metro Zone minutes from meetings) and numerous conversations, and correspondence with all parties involved by Simon Trippe (current USFA President) it was decided by the now current USFA committee to apologise to Sam Clothier for the behaviour of the former President Scott Williams, who acted on his own behalf in making a decision impacting Sam Clothier. Where it was found, and all minutes shown, there was no consultation, vote, and agreement with other clubs, nor their representatives nor the committee of the USFA at a meeting as was implied by Scott Williams to Sam Clothier that the clubs had made a democratic vote to come to this “decision”.
o It was unanimous by all USFA committee in attendance to apologise to Sam Clothier, the motion also seconded by Lee Dalli. Those in attendance at the AGM expressed their disappointment and were exasperated by Scott Williams behaviours.
o The apology was accepted by Sam Clothier, and we are all moving on. Note: (this apology and acceptance by Sam occurred after this AGM and was given to Sam by Simon Trippe in written form via email)
o It was made note that this was a time consuming and often stressful period over several weeks for the President.

• USFA Committee Positions made vacant.

 President – Simon Trippe previous year, Simon Trippe nominated.
• Seconded Evan
 Vice President – Parry Grylls previous year, Parry Grylls nominated.
• Seconded Lee
 Secretary: Ian Buck previous year, Ian nominated
• Seconded: Simon Trippe
 Treasurer: Evan Leeson previous year, Evan Leeson nominated,
• Seconded: Simon Trippe
 Public officer: Alby Cooke previous year, Alby nominated.
• Seconded: Lee Dali
 Sports Secretary: Pat Ireland (Nominated by Lee)
• Seconded: Evan Leeson
 IT guru: Ricardo Casquete previous year, Ricardo nominated.
• Seconded: Parry Gryllis
 Web Master:
• Sam K previous year, Sam K nominated.
• Seconded: Lee Dali
 Indigenous Liaison Officer: David Leha
• Seconded: Pat Ireland
 Historian
• Mel Brown previous year, Mel Brown nominated.
• Seconded: Simon Trippe

The President thanks the former and now current committee for their efforts towards spearfishing and welcomes Patrick Ireland into the key role of Sports Secretary.

General Business

• Planning for
o USFA 75th Anniversary
o Kingfish cup in November
o Sub committees organised for these two main events.

• Underwater Hockey removed from the Australian Underwater Federation

Club Reports

North Shore Underwater Club – The Seahawks

• NSUC is currently at 55 financial members.
• Monthly Club Meeting attendance is approx. 15-20 people.
• Great training presentations held each month which are well received, particularly by the new members.
• Next Monthly Club Training presentation topic is ‘Reading the Weather for Spearfishing’.
• Coral Sea Trip ’23 (Coral Sea Cowboys) by Bretto Whalan: about thirteen of the spots are currently filled.
• New club members are attending Allimans to get experience and see ‘what it’s all about’.
• Social ‘Chat Group’ started within the club’s FB page.
• Club social events being planned for later in the year, including a club trip to Sealies or Mid-North Coast.
• Previously ‘new divers’ who joined the club in the last 1-3 years have been developing well, becoming good divers, and assisting in the running of the club by taking up active club management positions.

PORT HACKING PENGUINS

Penguins Committee for the year

  • President – Gary Baxter
  • Vice President – Tony Couchman
  • Treasurer – Glenn Sewell
  • Secretary – Martyn Kieselbach
  • Sports Secretary – David McGowan
  • Social Secretary – Craig Martin
  • AGM is held every December
  • Current total number of financial members = 46
  • The Port Hacking Penguins (PHP) continue to have representation at every Aliman Shield.
  • The PHP regularly have representation at other major competitions.
  • The 2023 PHP Catch of The Year remains in progress.
  • There was PHP club trips to Bawley Point and Montague Island in March, and Coffs Harbour in April.
  • Six Penguin members travelled to New Zealand in February 2023 for a spearfishing tour of the Coromandel region
  • The PHP have an ongoing and up to date presence on social media.
  • The PHP continue to instruct all divers in safety and encourage all divers, across social media, to join a spearfishing club and become involved in the USFA.

Mulloways First Nations Spearfishing

We have held several activities such as:

  • Dive basics
  • Dive equipment
  • Dive safety
  • Cultural stories and knowledge
  • Catch and Cook
  • Ceremony and Protocols e.g. giving thanks and asking permission and for protection
  • Improved networks and connection to support the ongoing cultural healing and sharing.
  • Increased community capacity and capability to the cultural identity, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

We would like to thank those that donated through the donations box at Adreno.
This had enabled many people to experience the underwater world using the donated equipment.

Regards
David
President First Nations Spearfishing Association.

SANS SOUCI DOLPHINS
The Dolphins are enjoying the 2023 season.
Club meetings, third Tuesday of the month held at South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association see regular attendance of divers from 30 to 75 members. Talks by our members include Safety; Blue Water spearfishing; correct breathing and proper equalisation for spearfishers; the right speargun for you; and of course – the Master Chef battle, the cook offs have been amazing.
Regular social dives – Coffs Harbour, South West Rocks, Crowdy Head, Seal Rocks, weekend camping at Broughton Island, Currarong and Eden.
The committee and members are anticipating our 70th year celebrations and looking forward to a turnout of over 150 divers from 1953 onwards.
With close to 70 USFA members and over 100 social members the Dolphins are benefitting from their many members’ input, work ethic and skill sets. All are welcome to attend.
Parry Gryllis, delegate.

Next USFA Meeting 21st March 1900 at Adreno Sydney


Meeting finishes 2230.

Sutherland Shire Council Meeting – Mayor’s Motion regarding boundaries for Spearfishing

Monday February 19th

Sutherland Shire Council Meeting – Mayor’s Motion regarding boundaries for Spearfishing – Shelly Beach to Bass and Flinders Point. Creating a new Aquatic Reserve therefore increasing the spearfishing exclusion boundaries.  USFA protested peacefully against these Mayoral motions and offered solutions.

USFA Members hold your heads up high!

Last night’s Sutherland Shire council meeting saw an overwhelming number of recreational fishers attending to offer solutions to be able to share the marine resource rather than have spearfishers excluded losing safe access to more of our treasured shallow water hunting grounds.

Every single fishing representative in attendance, close to 150 rec fishers showed class and dignity and gave respect to others of the public, showing the Council the quality of people involved in recreational fishing. Council staff mentioning they had not seen such numbers in attendance at any Council meeting previously.             

The Crux of the matter: A protected specie – the Blue Groper was speared, by an unlicensed fisher new to the country, therefore due to the actions of one person fishers are to lose territory.

Julian, Hon. Mark Banasiak MLC, Alex Bellisimo, Simon Trippe USFA President

Our Association and its members boast many generations of experience dealing with issues relating to sharing the spatial areas that we use with other stakeholders and this again came to the fore as the talks given by David McGowan (Pt Hacking Penguins) and Charl deVilliers (St George Dragons President) were on point. 

Dave McGowan

David mentioning the benefits of the ocean for our health and well-being “the ocean is the antidote to modern life”; David expressing that we could flip this problem to an opportunity to solve this together, “as changes to the rules wont change behaviour… yet an engaged community from all sides with guidance and leadership from governing bodies could lead to great things for the marine environment further benefitting the community… Do we turn our backs on each other, close the door and lock it down, or do we open for community collaboration and positive change?

Charl pointing out that the La Perouse aboriginal land council had not been consulted. Charl expressed there were 40 000 rec fishers in the Shire; he queried the lack of good, respectful and collaborative approach liaising with the community to solve the problems, and finally he asked Council to stop special interest groups who request exclusive access to the public domain.

Note, the USFA, and its speakers representing tonight absolutely condemns the taking of Blue Groper by spear. Spearfishers are not at fault here.

We suggest to the Minister, her Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, and the Sutherland Shire Council the following:

Education: The USFA would like to be involved with the Department to assist concerned locals in communities, and recreational fishers on the fishing regulations, and to promote spearfishing in its best light where people are realising the huge positive impact it has on fitness, well-being and mental health. An open day at Oak Park promoted by governing bodies assisted by USFA local members would be a great start to this ongoing education.  Too, encouraging local dive and tackle stores to promote awareness of the Blue Groper.

Science:  That there needs to be an index of abundance on Blue Groper. The species have been in an eruptive phase for several decades and it would be worth looking to see if they are a threatening process to other species due to their inter-specific hyper dominant nature, and their sheer biomass. You would look to adaptive management based upon the science and monitoring.  The USFA would be happy to assist with this research.

The Mayor and Councillors were impressed by the spearfishers and had good discussion and decided to make amendments to forward on to the Minister. Council looks forward to positive collaboration with community stakeholders and USFA in the ongoing education of people in the benefits of spearfishing and those coming into their community enjoying the wonderful Marine environment the Shire offers.

Thanks must go to the Hon. Mark Banasiak MLC and his amazing team from the SFF Party, Mark you have always stood by the spearo, thank you so much; the amazing crew at St George and Sutherland Shire Anglers Club who turned in in great numbers; various members of the Stop the Lockout Alliance with their banners; the Spearfishing clubs, our tribe! Port Hacking Penguins, St George Dragons, Sans Souci Dolphins, North Shore Sea Hawks (at least 7 members from the Northern beaches came to support!) plus, legends like Alex Bellismo; the Wild Foodmeister; Fergo’s Tackleworld staff, cheers Johnny and team! Adreno Legends – thanks Craig Seadog for being there too, and lastly Danil Hike, Nick Tang, Melven Brown AO, and Bob McComb, what a think tank and awesome action group you guys were with the countless days combined you spent on this with Charlie and David, thank you all so much.

You all came, you were respectful, we left a great impression, thank you! Now for the Minister’s announcement to come, watch this space…..

3 USFA Presidents Bob McComb, Jack Jones, Simon Trippe. Jack is now a keen angler with St George and Sutherland Shire Anglers.

Oak Park Groper issue heats up

Correspondence to the Minister for Agriculture

Correspondence has been sent to the Hon Tara Moriarty MLC Minister for Agriculture regarding the “noise” the USFA are hearing from Sutherland Shire Council, and their Mayor, regarding their appeal to extend the no spearfishing  zone in the Cronulla area and make the area an Aquatic Reserve.  This reaction from the Mayor has occurred from the unfortunate incident of the speared blue groper at that site at the beginning of the year. The USFA will always fight for safe access and will not yield this ground unless unbiased science proves otherwise.

What was detailed in the letter sent to the Minister was our good relationship; how we condemned the act of the person spearing the Groper, reminding the Minister it was the USFA who pushed for the protection of Groper in the late 1960’s;  how USFA members have much experience in sharing the spatial area equitably with other stakeholders and that we could assist the Department with this current issue.

We offered solutions such as better science and education:Science where there needs to be an index of abundance done on the Blue Groper as they have been in an eruptive phase for several decades and it would be worth looking to see if they are a threatening process to other species due to their inter-specific hyper dominant nature, as well as their sheer biomass and from these findings look to adaptive management based upon the science and monitoring.  Of course we offer assistance in this research.

Education and ethics are central to our Association and members of the USFA engage positively with members of the public.  Education will not prevent this incident from happening again, however it will reduce the incidents. We offered our involvement with the Department to assist in engaging locals and rec fishers on fishing regulations, and to promote spearfishing in its best light where people are realising the huge positive impact it has on fitness, well-being and mental health, an education day at Oak Park with spearfishing representatives engaging locals and rec fishers was suggested.   Too, encouraging dive outlets and tackle stores to promote awareness of the Blue Groper.

I encourage spearfishers to attend the Council Meeting being held this Monday February 19th from 18 at Level 2, Council Administration Building, 4-20 Eton Street, Sutherland.  Bring a friend.

Thank you

Simon Trippe

President USFA NSW

USFA SYDNEY CUP CHAMPIONSHIP

SYDNEY CUP

Spearfishing Extravaganza at Gunnamatta: A Sizzling Showdown Under the Waves!

Date & Location: 21st January 2024 at Gunnamatta

The sun was high, the ocean shimmering, and the excitement palpable as 21 daring competitors gathered at the picturesque Gunnamatta Bay for the hottest spearfishing competition of the year. The conditions? Well, they were downright sizzling with a temperature soaring to a scorching 39 degrees, making it a perfect day for a splash in the deep blue.

The underwater world was a mixed bag, like a buffet of visibility. Some spots offered poor visibility, creating an intense challenge for the competitors, while other areas revealed a clear underwater wonderland with visibility exceeding 10 meters. It was a true test of skill and adaptability as spearfishers navigated the ever-changing underwater landscape.

Our intrepid contestants, armed with their spears and clad in wetsuits, took the plunge, each hoping to emerge victorious and claim one (or more) of the various categories. The number of competitors, a solid 21, showcased the growing popularity and passion for spearfishing in the community.

Now, let’s talk about the man of the hour—Warren Carter of the Port Hacking Penguins. With a skilful finesse and an uncanny ability to spot the elusive underwater prey, Warren emerged as the highest scorer on this blistering day. The Penguins must have some secret weapon hidden in their icebergs because Warren’s performance was nothing short of spectacular!

Warren Carter, Sydney Cup Champion and Gunther Pfrengle, Runner up
Father and Son Lee and Sam Dalli

Of course, what’s a competition without some fabulous prizes? Dive store Adreno  generously donated over $1000 in Adreno vouchers, creating a treasure trove of rewards for the winners. The vouchers were spread across various categories, ensuring that excellence in different aspects of spearfishing was duly recognised.

As the sun set on this thrilling day of underwater adventure, the competition was far from over. A sizzling BBQ awaited the exhausted but jubilant competitors, turning the post-event atmosphere into a delicious fiesta. Tales of the ones that got away, and the camaraderie of like-minded adventurers also filled the air. A standing ovation and a sizzling shout-out to the BBQ maestro extraordinaire, Deanne Kieselbach! Deanne, we can’t thank you enough for generously volunteering your time and BBQ skills.

Deanne on the tongs

Until next year’s Sydney Cup, keep those spears sharp and your eyes peeled for the next big catch.

USFA SPORTS SECRETARY – Pat Ireland

Sydney Cup Open Champion – Warren Carter (Penguins) 678pts 14 species

Runner Up and Grand Masters Champion – Gunther Pfrengle (Dragons) 583pts

3rd Placegetter Derrick Cruz (Dolphins) 502pts

Derrick Cruz 3rd place with a 4200gm Rock Blackfish and good Bream
St George Dragons legends Mick Arentz and Gunther Pfrengle

Lee with Adreno winner Ben Favorito from the Dragons
Happy Adreno recipeient Marty Kieselbach from the Penguins

USFA statement on speared Groper

In light of the recent hand spearing of a Groper at Oak Park, Cronulla where the diver was subsequently fined by authorities for taking a protected NSW marine species, the USFA continues to encourage positive participation in Spearfishing.

The USFA absolutely condemns this isolated act. Spearfishers across the State are upset with this random behaviour that does not represent proper spearfishing practice in any way.

The USFA pushed for the protection of Blue Groper in NSW, and introduced a ban on Blue Groper amongst their association before it became formal.

Education and ethics are central to the Association, and members of the USFA continually engage positively with all participating stakeholders of the marine environment, adhering to our stringent Code of Conduct. https://usfa.org.au/usfa-code/

The USFA are happy to assist newcomers to spearfishing and direct them to the many clubs around NSW that are the learning portals that lead to continued ethical and sustainable fishing.