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    Ethical Burley? The Garbage Law You Probably Don’t Know About

    December 27, 2021 4 min read

    Ethical Burley? The Garbage Law You Probably Don’t Know About

    When someone mentions ethical burley, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t pollution is it? But as one of the Noob Spearo fans has pointed out, it definitely should be; both in terms of its environmental impact and the law.

    So what’s the rules?

    • Food waste must not be passed into the ocean unless:
      • Ithas been ground to less than 25mm
      • Is greater than 3nm from land (or fringe of GBR)
    • Animal carcases can only be discharged:
      • When not in designated MARPOL areas
      • Enroute and the ship is as far as possible from land
      • Stomach area has been split, orcarcass has been through a grinder
      • Is in accordance with section 2.12 of the 2012guidelines
    • General waste can only be released:
      • unless in specific situations outlines in MARPOL Annex V

    So to be ethical and sustainable, avoid using tinfoil or newspaper asburley and opt for sustainable options. A great alternative is the massive range of flashers, which are available from the Adreno Spearfishing storehere.

     More info on the Aussie laws can be foundhere

    This is an email from a pissed off listener and there is some good info in here about garbage laws and thinking carefully about burley!  Read our exchange below!




    G’day guys,

    Have been listening to your podcasts (Noob Spearo) the past 2 months or so and have been enjoying the show, comedy and getting heaps of sweet tips.

    Although for the past week or so I have listened to two podcasts where your guests talk about how great it is to pollute the oceans with burley and both you guys agree it is a great idea.

    If you did not know, under IMO MARPOL annex V legislation (garbage) it is illegal to throw anything in the oceans other than food scraps, to do this you need to be 12nm off the land(including islands) unless it is comminuted then 3nm, outside special areas. In Qld due to the GBR the baseline is 12nm off the outer edge of the GBR.

    This applies to everyone worldwide!

    This is to throw even an apple core, orange peel , banana skin etc. let alone paper!

    You had two foreign dickheads gloating about how good it is to throw toilet paper, alfoil  and newspaper into our Australian oceans. If you have not been there, the Mediterranean is full of rubbish and there are no fish there for a reason let alone Africa which is like a garbage tip in most places and waters.

    I encourage you in future to frown and point out to listeners that this is illegal and we should be protecting our oceans not shitting in our own backyard. This way future generations will be able to spear and enjoy our oceans for many generations to come


    Name Redacted




    Hey Name Redacted,

    Cheers for reaching out and I'm stoked you are enjoying the show.

    I just want to make sure I understand you correctly. You found the guests' tips to use artificial material in their burley mix in poor taste given the fact that we should be stewards of the highest ethical standards given we spend so much time in the water?

    If this is what you are saying, I hear you and feel what you are saying. I had similar concerns when I talked with them and I believe I may have pointed out those concerns albeit gently. I'm not sure how I can gracefully and respectfully criticise my guests and their ideas especially as I was the one to invite them on the show. How do you think I could do this in the flow of a conversation while preserving my guests dignity, honouring them as individuals and spearos and advocating for the environment at the same 

    Thanks in advance,





    Gday Shrek,

    Thanks for the reply email.

    I worked out at sea both here in Australia as a commercial fisherman and overseas on yachts and passenger vessels for 22 years. I now instruct at a marine college.

    I just wanted to point out to you that it is illegal to put even food waste into our waters unless you are 12nm offshore, GBR 12nm from outer edge. 

    I know you guys didn’t say it and I know you mentioned alfoil wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly.

    I have worked out at sea since 1996 and there used to be less strict requirements  and I have definitely thrown my share of empty stubbies (crab holes), paper, food scraps etc. into the water.

    The new regulations came into force in January 2013 which disallows all of this. I know a lot of recreational fisherman/ spearos are unaware of these strict laws as when diving the reef I have had to point out to my mates on many occasions they can’t throw their apple core into the piss.

    I am not too sure how you approach it with guests. It is definitely a tricky one, but paper is definitely not allowed anymore, maybe you could point out that it is no longer allowed, especially on the reef or in the show notes.

    Please find attached a poster of the IMO requirements, for MARPOL Annex V, these apply to recreational boats as well as ships.

    Keep up the good work fellas, awesome podcast.

    Kind regards,

    Name Redacted





    Ah legend,

    Thanks for the extended info and help. If I have more knowledge, I try to point things out gently and this is still a skill I'm trying to master. I've burned out a few personal relationships with blunt feedback and it can be embarrassing for the guest and myself doing it in the middle of an interview.

    If no one tells us though, we don't learn so I appreciate your effort man - always welcome!





    No worries mate,

    I wasn’t having a go at you fellas, just pointing it out. Keep up the good work 

    Kind Regards

    Name Redacted

    Check out the MARPOL annex V image below for more info!