Worry spearfishing ‘idiots’ will ruin Adelaide coastline unfounded, enthusiasts say

Spearfishing has been allowed along Adelaide’s coastline for the first time in 30 years, but some beachside residents are concerned about safety and marine life.

The Department of Primary Industries SA (PIRSA) has given approval for the sport along the shoreline of Kingston Park, Marino and Hallett Cove, as well as south of the Outer Harbor breakwater.

Marino man Rob George is among a group of local residents opposed to spearfishing.

He said he was fearful of lethal weapons coming close to snorkellers.

“It has been a fabulous spot with a beautiful little dive just a few meters off the rocks,” he said.

“And now that’s all going to be thrown into turmoil because idiots are going along shooting dusky morwong and rock cod and silver drummer, all of which are essentially inedible — I mean they taste like soap.”

He said photos had already emerged of spearfishers coming out of the water holding spearguns while walking on slippery rocks.

Houses on a hill next to the sea
The area around Marino is among the few along Adelaide’s coast without a beach.Supplied: Jim Stevens

PIRSA has chosen the areas where it has allowed spearfishing because they are rocky and less popular with swimmers.

Spearfishing will still be banned within 100 meters of jetties, landings and wharves.

It is allowed in regional areas, apart from around Victor Harbor and Second Valley.

Etiquette around spearfishing followed

Gulf Skindivers Spearfishing Club management team member Greg Tenikoff said the spearfishing community was skilled and followed common rules.

“Part of what we represent is actually having good etiquette towards the general members of the public and such, so walking around with spearguns loaded on the beach around the public is a big no,” he said.

“Walking around with speargun tips uncovered or pointed in the general direction of people is also a big no.

“Leaving fish sort of scattered along the coastline or just not actually disposed of or taken for consumption is a big no.”

A man standing in the water off a beach and holding a long spear, at sunset
Spearfishing can be done by hand or using a speargun.ABC News: Michael Franchic

He said spearfishers did not “kill for fun” but for eating.

“Contrary to what people probably perceive the sport to be, there’s actually a lot of skill that goes into it.”

Line fishing worse for marine life

The Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Foundation looks after injured and sick birds, seals, dolphins and turtles at Torrens Island.

Operations director Aaron Machado said spearfishing was more environmentally friendly than line fishing, with 96 per cent of the creatures the organization looked after coming in after being entangled in fishing line and other angling equipment.

“If you go down there to try and catch a giant trevally, you’re only going to shoot a giant trevally — or you should only be shooting a giant trevally,” Mr Machado said.

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