UPDATE: USFA Position Statement

USFA Position Statment 22.09.2018

Fishers In the last month we have witnessed a truly organic uprising against a series of over reaching Marine Protected Areas in the Sydney Bio Region. Fishers in NSW are finding their political legs and this can only bode well for us all going forward. This is the third time I personally have fought a similar proposal, initially in 92-93 against the Sydney Coastal Council Group, then in 2009 against the “Torn Blue Fringe” and now against the Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA). The irony in all this is that we do have a very strong conservation ethic, want healthy and productive oceans, are low risk in regards to threats, yet are continually scapegoated and demonised as the villains. Even if we win this it wont be the end, we will need to continually be vigilant and prepared into the future.

It should be clear to USFA members, all spearo’s and fishers that we won’t be compromising or trading off one location against another. We are however, happy to talk to the Government about workable solutions going forward. We see MEMA as the main protagonists and want to see MEMA replaced with an advisory committee made up of elected stakeholders with its Chair reporting directly to the Minister. We would like independent and transparent scientific reviews into the key risks of the proposed and existing marine protected areas with the view to improving the access to low risk activities. The advisory committee should oversee these scientific reviews.

The USFA is supporting a ten-year moratorium on any new marine protected areas. Whilst in principle multi-use marine protected areas appear nice on the surface, once in place the “use” can be changed with the stroke of a pen by regulators with out going through the legislative process. We through experience have a lack of faith and trust in the regulatory process. Marine protected areas have existed in this state for several decades yet we have seen little in the way of measurable outcomes particularly concerning water quality, abundance in biodiversity, biomass or research. Although we are calling for increases access for low risk activities in established MPA’s we are not yet calling for their abolishment. We feel ten years to improve the outcomes and performance of the managers of these areas before establishing more or demolishing the existing as fair.

Being fully aware that this will historically be remembered as only one in a long series of battles for fishing rights and access, it is important that we build our resilience. Our opponents are well organised and well funded often out of public funds. I believe that we all should now be pushing for funding and premises for a fishing museum and an adjunct research foundation, so as to have a centre for education and training. We need to be supporting and developing our future leaders, improving environmental awareness, improving safety for ourselves and also valuing our unique and diverse fishing culture and traditions. It is hard to believe that there are over a million of us, yet we receive nothing in the way of this like the arts or other sports.

The events of this past month, whilst unpleasant, have really galvanised the fishing community. We should be proud of ourselves. We have seen many alliances between stakeholders strengthened, new and future leaders emerge and a political awakening of the fishing lobby, let’s continue the momentum and use this new found power constructively and wisely.

Thank you,
Bob McComb
President USFA

USFA rejects the ‘Sydney Marine Park Proposal’ What you can do to Help.

Hello Everyone,

USFA rejects the ‘Sydney Marine Park Proposal’

Please see the attached documentation regarding the USFA’s position on the Sydney Marine Parks, information on each proposed site and what you can do to help stop it.

USFA members what to do – What you need to do.

USFA recommendations HBRMP – This is the USFA’s position on each proposed marine parks. 

PETITION_MARINE PARKS – Please complete as many petition sheet as you can and return to the address listed on the bottom.

Nth Hbr Aqu Res Disc Resp 200616 – About the North Harbour Aquatic Reserve  


2018 NSW State Titles

On behalf of the USFA we would like to thank all the competitors who entered and braved the weather in the 2018 NSW State Titles.

A special thanks to our safety boat drivers Paul Christie and Alex Lewis. We really appreciate you both donating your time.

Thanks again to the event sponsors:




USFA – State Titles 2018 Heaviest Fish Overall by AGE

USFA – State Titles 2018 Heaviest Fish Overall

USFA – State Titles 2018 Meritorious Overall by AGE

USFA – State Titles 2018 Meritorious Overall

USFA – State Titles 2018 Place Overall by AGE

USFA – State Titles 2018 Place Overall


Alliman Shield 2017 – November – Watsons Bay

It dawned a dark, rainy day on the morning of the competition and then The Gap was checked to see the conditions outside the seas looked like a washing machine!

But as the divers gathered the safety boat went out and came back the competition was on! The safety talk was conducted and the roll call and the divers went out for the days diving. The harbour turned out to be surprisingly clear with a lot of fish about. Both Shark Island and Sow & Pigs Reef had excellent conditions. But outside the harbour the conditions were rough and sloppy and challenging to spearfish in.


Picture 1 of 16

The competition finished at 1:15pm and all competitors were back in time, some interesting fish came in like Parry Gryllis’s blue bar parrotfish, Phil Sheppard’s spinefoot. Phil also got a huge silver drummer of over nine kilograms. The weigh in went smoothly and some of the tourists that hung about were rewarded with a fish or two, good public relations!
When the score were done it was SSD Derrick Cruz who took out the day with 699pts and Matt Poulton coming fourth with 419pts which has them level pegging at first going into the final round. The last competition is on December the 3 rd at Gunnamatta Bay, Cronulla. A BBQ and drinks will be on after the competition and all are welcome.

Lee Dalli
Metropolitan Spearfishing Zone

Scores are missing October results and will be updated soon.

2018 USFA Executive Committee

Underwater Skindivers & Fisherman’s Association office bearers:

Office Person
Chairman Peter Saunders
Vice Chairman Bob McComb
Secretary Vacant
Assistant Secretary Mel Brown
Treasurer Vacant
Assistant Treasurer Lee Dalli
Membership Officer Simon Horvath
Accreditation, Insurance & Strategic Officer Vacant
Sports Secretary Scott Williams
Events Coordinator Alby Cooke
Webmaster & Social Media Vacant
Sponsorship Officer Vacant
Grants Coordinator Vacant
Online Solutions Officer Vacant
Historical Officer Mel Brown
Public Officer Mel Brown
Public Affairs Officer Bob McComb
Safety & Education Officer Simon Trippe
Recognised Training Officer Simon Trippe
Spearfishing Records Officer Simon Trippe
Endangered Species Officer Matthew Poulton
Environment Officer Matthew Poulton
Marine Advisory Councils Officer Oliver Wady
Marine Parks Liaison (Far North – Coffs) Vacant
Marine Parks Liaison (Far North – Byron Bay) Vacant
Marine Parks Liaison (North) Alby Cooke
Marine Parks Liaison (Central) Matthew Poulton
Marine Parks Liaison (South – Jervis Bay) Oliver Wady
Marine Parks Liaison (South – Batemans Bay) Adam Martin
Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) Representative Matthew Poulton