Bring back the Spearfishing Ban on the Adelaide Metro Coast

Bring back the Spearfishing Ban on the Adelaide Metro Coast

1,543 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
Petition to
Hon Clare Scriven (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) and

Why this petition matters

Started by Lynda Yates

In March 2021, PIRSA proposed that the 30-year-old ban on spearfishing along the Adelaide Metro Coast from Outer Harbor to Wilton Bluff near Christie's Beach be removed in 2 areas - Marino to O'Sullivan Beach and for 100m on the south side of the Outer Harbor breakwater. Despite opposition from councils and other groups who heard about the proposal, the ban was lifted after lobbying by a spearfishing group, although one area was reduced slightly - Marino to just south of Hallett Cove (rather than to O'Sullivan Beach). Let's get the ban reinstated for the following reasons:

1.      The consultation carried out last year by PIRSA did not adequately consult affected coastal communities and groups like 5049 Coastal Community. 

2.      Conservation Council SA, City of Marion and City of Onkaparinga were asked to comment by PIRSA and all replied that the ban should remain but were then apparently ignored. It appears they received no notification of the results of the consultation or of the subsequent changes to the rules. This also happened to a private citizen who made a submission (again he wanted the ban to remain).

3.      PIRSA does not seem to have notified either the general public or Fishwatch staff of the new regulations. ‘No spearfishing’ signs were not removed (later this was done by spearfishers) so the first locals knew about it was seeing spearfishers with their lethal guns at spots where families with children like to play.

4.      The reason given for lifting of the ban by then-Minister Basham is that it will encourage economic activity. However, families, swimmers, snorkelers and divers contribute greatly to coastal economies, much more so than people with cheap spears, and they will be less likely to patronise their local beach if spearfishers are present killing marine species in front of their children and reducing the sea to a dead zone. The fish were not scared of people and easily seen by swimmers, snorkelers and divers so would have been easy to spear - hardly sport - but now most are gone and the pleasure of seeing them is lost so the economic support of these people and also of tourists may also be lost if they go elsewhere or stop diving. Taking a photo or seeing a fish is sustainable but killing a fish stops other people enjoying it - permanently. 

5.      Spearfishers do not seem to be doing the right thing. They are leaving their spears on the rocks and boat ramp at Marino Rocks without covering the sharp tips so that people, their children and dogs are endangered both in and out of the water by spearfishers. Injured and dying fish left in the sea may attract sharks inshore. As they need no licence or registration (unlike most other areas of the world), spearfishers usually have no training and are unaware of what species they are killing and whether it is protected or even edible. The photo is of a large dusky morwong, an inedible fish, that was left on the ground beside a bin after being speared – what a waste and a potential health hazard - council staff removed it. 

6.      Did PIRSA realise the number of spearfishers that would descend on suitable sites like Marino Rocks where several groups of spearfishers at a time have been present almost continuously over the last few weeks, decimating the marine life that used to live there? Did PIRSA consider the effects of this on these marine species and the coastal ecology generally? It seems likely that many of the fish being speared are juveniles and if this wholesale killing continues, there will be few fish left to mature, breed and inhabit our coastal waters. These marine creatures usually have a home territory in which they live so restocking from outside will be slow.

Please sign to reinstate the ban on spearfishing to all Adelaide metropolitan coastal waters so that people can enjoy their coasts as before. The population is too large here to make spearfishing a sustainable activity.

For double the impact, send your own message to the new Labor ministers, who will hopefully be sympathetic to changing this as it was brought in by the Liberal Government. The contact details for the Ministers are: 

Hon Clare Scriven, Minister for Primary Industries -

Hon Susan Close, Minister for Environment and Water -

Thank you for caring,

Lynda Yates, Environmental Task Group, 5049 Coastal Community

1,543 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!