29 Jan 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.
Our safety and education officer Simon Trippe is an accredited freediving instructor and has been involved with helping to start up several spearfishing safety and ethics education campaigns over the years: See here: Safety
Our website guru Sam Krywulycz, a Computer Security Engineer by profession; Sam continues to keep evolving and developing the website, new things are being added constantly on our website.
Myself, getting on in years I’m a big fan of the history section where Australia's Spearfishing Historian, Mel Brown has published many articles and has countless more to share. In 2015 Mel received the Order of Australia all detailed on our website here.
If you have a story of an interesting dive or spearfishing related incident, photos you wish to show please email us at [email protected]
Nigel Sirisomphone our Online Solutions Officer, is a Senior Front-end Website Developer for Fox Sports and has helped out with some great concepts for the USFA, the new online membership being one of them and is working on much more.
Oly Wady is our representative on the Lobster Industry working group and is always looking to see spearos are not left out. The latest minutes from their meetings is here
Nic Williams and Peter Walsh, share the Secretary duties and ensure the loose ends get tied. Pete also being a health and safety expert brings great ideas to the table, and his efforts along with Lee Dalli’s were instrumental in finding such great insurance coverage for our members.
Dallas Davies of the legendary Davies spearfishing family from the Newcastle Neptunes holds the Public Officer role and has cracked the whip to keep our legal side of things up to speed, thank you Dallas for being so switched on with all of this side of things.
Kevin Saw, a practising and qualified as a chartered accountant, is our new balancer of the books and has been an outstanding help with the bean counting.
Lee Dalli is our mighty memberships officer, with Nigel’s help we now have twelve months memberships starting from whenever you pay for the membership and for answers on why should you be a member of the USFA see here: Membership
Alby Cooke, the Central Coast Sea Lions President who has done so much in organising great social events for all spearos to come together and further enjoy the sport out of the water not just in it.
USFA fights the good fight for your rights to spearfish. As you may be aware Matt Poulton is our spearfishing representative to the Recreational Fishing Authority (RFA) who deal with the relative government agencies where it concerns fishing of any kind and its environment, Matt has a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture management, he was on the recreational fishing youth leadership programme several years ago and has the respect from his peers in all recreational fishing sectors at the political end of the spearpoint.
Matt is always on the lookout for spearos to assist him in dealing with any issues that may arise politically, and we now face a huge challenge with the Hawkesbury Shelf Marine bio region that sees so much of our favourite spearfishing grounds under threat. Remember that as spearfishers we are limited to our fishing grounds by depth, we are unable to just drive half an hour off the coastline and jump out into 50m and begin spearfishing. All the major spearfishing areas in Sydney alone are under threat by this bio region.
You may recall last year the fantastic result for spearfishers that came from the Grey Nurse shark incidents; the overall spearo response on social media was great, and with the USFA always the first port of call contacted when there are grave issues that put the sport in a bad light, as our relationships with media and government agencies is first rate having dealt with these departments for decades and put the work in they know spearos on the whole are responsible people.
USFA Insurance has proven itself to be outstanding coverage, and the USFA is the first association in the sport of spearfishing to do a full risk assessment.
Other points of awareness:
- The USFA will continue to support and are affiliated with the Shooters and Fishers party, who have been a tremendous help to promoting spearfishing in a good light to the government.
USFA has a great relationship with Adreno Spearfishing Supplies and all USFA members receive 10% off their purchases (those not already on special) from Adreno. USFA members are doing monthly seminars in their Sydney superstore for all spearfishers ranging from blue water, safe spearfishing, gun rigging, historic spearfishing gear display.
- USFA annual Awards night – is for all USFA members to be recognised for their spearfishing achievements and great catches throughout the year, one of the highlights of your social calendar.
- USFA non club membership is now the largest sector in the Association. Thank you to all those spearos around Australia that join the USFA, each membership gives greater weight to our cause when we go to lobby for our rights with the bureaucracy.
In signing off I assure you that the USFA is continuing right on with the job of further education in reaching out to all spearfishers and the public in areas of safety such as:
The prop strike and the “look out diver about” boat awareness campaign.
- Dive safety awareness with further distributions of the “Don’t put your life on the line” Spearfishing safety DVD; ethics and code of conduct education.
- Offering safe spearfishing practical workshops for all new members (look out for this coming up on the website) as we believe all members should have a level of training to know how to rescue a diver in distress and will provide this knowledge free for all members of the USFA.
The USFA with the assistance of the Recreational Fishing Alliance and Fishers & Shooters Party will continue to:
- address any concerns that put the sport in a bad light.
- continue to fight for you the spearfishers rights to spear fish in your local areas – no more lockouts.
- request more artificial reefs in depths suitable for spearfishers.
- Obtain more fads for you to enjoy your blue water diving
- See that agreeable bag and size limits occur for rock lobster, abalone and desired target species
- Gather input from all NSW Spearfishers via online polls and other means to make sure we are representing you in the way you want.
On behalf of all the committee I wish you a safe and successful year in spearfishing.
Yours in safe and sustainable spearfishing
If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact me
President - Underwater Skindivers & Fisherman’s Association