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.

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. 

The USFA’s Issues with the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment

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/

A better picture showing the expanse of the region under assessment
The Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion under assessment

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.  Continue reading The USFA’s Issues with the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine Bioregion Assessment

Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment

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.

Continue reading Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion assessment

USFA 2016 address to Spearfishers

Another new year has come around and therefore timely that I make mention of some good things that will continue on benefitting all spearos. In the USFA we are fortunate to have many talented members who willingly volunteer their time to assist in the running of the Association.

The One Up One Down pairs events were well received, why would they not be as any new members are invited to dive and be paired with some seriously outstanding spearos who choose to give up their time to assist newcomers to the sport and show them the ropes for a few hours. Continue reading USFA 2016 address to Spearfishers

Local Competition Rules for USFA – Sydney Metro Zone

Adopted 12/1/09………
Revised ……………

  1. These rules are to read in conjunction with the current USFA competition rules.

 

  1. Dates of Alliman Shields Competition

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.


Continue reading Local Competition Rules for USFA – Sydney Metro Zone

USFA Press Release: Illegal Spearing of Grey Nurse Shark

Disturbing news is emerging tonight with reports and photographs on social media of two men with spear guns confronted on the beach at Mona Vale, Sydney with a speared Grey Nurse Shark on Sunday 2nd August 2015. The Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman’s Association (USFA) do not condone any illegal practise by NSW spearfishers who do not comply with Fisheries regulations and laws.

The juvenile 1.2m Protected Shark had been shot twice in the head and from an angle that denotes a deliberate act and not a result of self-defence.

When confronted the men feigned poor English and then said the shark had “tried to kill them” before throwing the dead shark back into the ocean along with the rest of their catch.

The two men fled the location in a champagne coloured Nissan Patrol 4WD still wearing wetsuits with numberplates being seen by a few and forwarded to Fisheries.

The Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman’s Association (USFA) would like to remind all spearfishers that every time you pull on a wetsuit you are representing not just yourself but the entire sport, that at all times you must uphold the highest level of ethical standards, abide by all laws and adhere to the USFA Rules and Regulations.

The USFA has also developed the Code of Conduct for Grey Nurse Sharks to assist spearfishers with their interactions with GNS.

This code represents the minimum standards of behaviour and actions required when Spearfishing in proximity to Grey Nurse Sharks. The code is part of the membership commitments to the Underwater Skindivers and Fishermen’s Association (USFA). It also serves as the default standard for all NSW Spearfishers.

Code of Conduct for Grey Nurse Sharks

When spearfishing near where Grey Nurse Sharks congregate:

  • Keep a minimum distance of five (5) metres at all times.
  • Do not knowingly allow sharks to steal catches.
  • Refrain from all forms of flashlight photography of sharks.
  • When sharks move to within five (5) metres discreetly retreat avoiding the projected path of the shark. If the sharks appear agitated, move out of the area.
  • Assist in any scientific research in conjunction with NSW DPI personnel.
  • Maintain and share records of shark populations to be able to ascertain whether they may be increasing or decreasing over periods.
  • When operating in Grey Nurse Shark locations, try to limit direct interaction.
  • Educate other spearfishers who may not be aware of, or otherwise regulated by the USFA code.

The Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman’s Association (USFA) would like all members to assist in any way possible to identify these men so that their details can be forwarded to Fisheries. Report illegal or suspect fishing activities to your nearest Fisheries Office or use the Fishers Watch Phone line on 1800 043 536 or complete the online report form. http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/compliance/report-illegal-activity
The USFA can also be alerted to assist via our Contact Us page. Please address the Secretary
Peter Walsh
USFA Vice President

Australian Marine Park Information

Understanding the rules

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.


Australia

http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/marine-reserves

Commonwealth marine reserves:
South-west | North-west | North | Great Barrier Reef | Coral Sea | Temperate East | South-east | Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Map of Australia’s network of Commonwealth marine reserves (PDF – 842.05 KB)


New South Wales

http://www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/
http://www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/pdf/NSW-Marine-protected-areas.pdf
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/habitat/protecting-habitats/mpa

There are six Marine Parks currently gazetted in NSW:
Cape Byron | Solitary Islands | Port Stephens-Great Lakes | Jervis Bay | Batemans Bay | Lord Howe Island


Queensland

http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/marine-parks/

The three state marine parks in Queensland are:
Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park | Great Sandy Marine Park | Moreton Bay Marine Park


Victoria

http://www.vic.gov.au/environment-water/water/marine-parks.html
http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/forestry-and-land-use/coasts/marine/marine-national-parks


South Australia

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/marineparks/home


West Australia

http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/marine/marine-parks-and-reserves


Tasmania

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=397


Northern Territory

http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/
Limmen Bight Marine Park 

NSW Fisheries Information – Department of Primary Industries

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.

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/info/closures/spearfishing

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.