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History of Spearfishing in NSW

Spearfishing in its modern form commenced early last century in 1917 and those hardy participants braved the elements using vastly antiquated equipment.

The sport rapidly developed over the years and in 1948, the Underwater Spearfishing Association of NSW was formed by a small group of dedicated divers at a meeting at Long Reef in Sydney.

Competition diving commenced around this time and numerous clubs were formed right along the NSW coastline. In those early days, Spearfishing and scuba divers were as one and worked together just as they now do in New Zealand and New Caledonia.

When the USFA decided to ban Spearfishing using scuba, the scuba fraternity went their own way and this decision has never been reconciled.

During the 1960's well known Australian Spearfishers and a few potential underwater movie stars commenced sensationalising the killing of large groupers and sharks using spearguns and powerheads and the general public perceived that this was what Spearfishing was all about.

Those dedicated to carrying out the sport for the long term were horrified by this promotion of killing easy prey for the sake of financial gain and publicity, and this has been well borne out by the articles written in our official state magazines of the time.

Perhaps then the perpetrators realised that publications like National Geographic did not respect the slaughter of easy prey and they then turned their back on the sport and moved into filming live underwater creatures.

Those of use who still participated where left with the legacy of the 60's slaughter and we struggle today to reverse this false perception. Governing bodies for Spearfishers and the members have been largely responsible for the protection of many species by firstly removing them from our competition and they lobbying Government and Fisheries to have bans imposed and thus provide protection. These include Blue Groper, Grey Nurse Sharks, Blue Devil Fish, and many others.

Please choose from a decade to browse the history of spearfishing in NSW.