If you're a regular user of Little Bay Beach, you may have encountered spearfishers accessing the beach via the one public staircase, entering the water from the beach, and/or spear fishing among recreational swimmers in the Bay. What many beachgoers are not aware of is that these spearfishers, for the most part, are not following safe spearfishing practices and are putting the safety of the general public at risk.
The Department of Primary Industry (DPI) safety guidelines for spearfishing stipulate that, as spearfishing is a particularly dangerous form of recreational fishing spearfishers should:
avoid carrying spearguns through crowded areas
never load or unload a speargun out of the water
avoid spearfishing in popular swimming locations.
Action taken so far by residents and the CA to preserve the safety of beachgoers
For some months, concerned Little Bay resident, Allen Morris, has been liaising with The Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW, Randwick City Council and the DPI on this important public safety issue.
At a meeting held on 23 September, strong representations were made by both the Priince Henry Community Associaiton representatives and Mr Morris that, for public safety reasons, spearfishing should be banned at Little Bay. The DPI and spearfishing community representatives put forward a contrary view that the public safety issue could be best addressed by a non-regulatory approach involving the education of spearfishers about their safety responsibilities.
Importantly, what was agreed by all parties at the meeting was that, for safety reasons, spearfishers should not be entering the water in the midst of beachgoers at Little Bay or be hunting for fish in the waters of the inner bay where people are swimming and snorkelling.
Accordingly, a compromise solution was hammered out at the meeting whereby it was agreed that spearfishing activities should be carried out only east of the red line, shown in the map below. Furthermore, spearfishers should only enter and exit from the water at points within the spearfishing area shown on the below map.
What can beachgoers do to help? Complete the Feedback Form
If you see a spearfisher on the stairs or on the beach, carrying a speargun without a cover on the spear tip, or entering the water from the beach, please complete the time, date, location, and a brief description of the incident on the below feedback form. The details will be forwarded to DPI for their consideration. If you're able to take a photo, that would be helpful — just mention in the Feedback form that you have a photo and the Web Team will contact you. However, please do not endanger your personal safety to take a photo.
Also, if you've any other views or experiences to share on the issue of spearfishing in the Bay, please complete the below Feedback Form.