Spearfishing competitions are held in regional NSW every month. A study indicates that these competitions can bring economic value to the local communities because spearos spend their money on accommodations, food, and fuel (Schilling et al. 2022). Here I would like to share some knowledge that I learnt from this article.
The study focused on two spearfishing competitions in NSW, the Bluewater Classic (Woolgoolga) and the Eden 3-way Championships in 2021. Both events were held in the regional NSW. To do this research, the authors collected voluntary anonymous surveys of competition participants. The survey questions include four main categories: economics, spearfishing experience, values, and socio-demographics. The results showed that competitors at both competitions were predominately male. (I think that means we still need to put more effort into building an environment where females would be interested in joining the sport.) All competitors demonstrated a high level of engagement with the marine environment in daily life and extremely valued sustainable fishing. I think this result really shows the spirit of spearfishing that we don't shoot all the fish in the ocean; we select fish that is big enough and only take what we need.
The regression analysis estimated that the adjusted mean total expenditure per competitor of the Bluewater Classic and Eden 3-way were $1,161.52 and $1,759.04 (including travel time), respectively. If the travel time was excluded, a competitor was estimated on average to spend $1,018.97 and 1,537.12 on the Bluewater Classic and Eden 3-way, respectively. In the studied year (2021), 21 competitors attended the Bluewater Classic, and 50 competitors attended the Eden 3-way. That means these competitions can bring over $20,000 to the local communities every year.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018), both Woolgoolga and Eden have lower levels of access to economic resources than other places in NSW. Hence, the events can play an important role in the economy of the towns.
Schilling, H. T., Riley, I. J., Puckeridge, A. C., Milne-Muller, A., & Callaghan, C. T. (2022). Economic value of regional spearfishing competitions. Fisheries Research, 250, 106289.
I would also like to share some photos of Eden, where we spent a few days spearfishing during the Christmas break. Our club member Michael organised a trip to Eden for a week. It took us an entire day to drive down to Eden. We then dived for three days and it was amazing. We caught banded mowie, blue mowie, blue-throated wrasse, big breams, and even kingfish. We also collected abalones and mussels, which were everywhere. When we filleted our catch near the boat ramp at the end of the day, bull rays and grey nurse sharks all came in for a feed. We basically had seafood platters for dinner every day. In the end, we vacuum-sealed fillets and brought them home with good memories.