NSW Rockfishers are being reminded that safety, not fish should come first, when dropping a line over summer, NSW Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said today.
“Rock fishing is a favourite sport for many recreational fishers in NSW, but unfortunately it’s one that can prove very dangerous,” Mr Whan said.
“This summer, don’t become a statistic. Rockfishers should make sure they always put their safety ahead of landing the catch of the day.”
The NSW Government funds a number of important safety programs through the NSW Recreational Fishing trust to further educate and assist rock fishers in NSW to help keep them safe.
• the Angel ring program, with more than 100 life buoys installed at popular rockfishing spots along the NSW coast. The program is administered by the NSW Branch of the Australian National Sports Fishing Association (ANSA).
• A series of workshops to educate rockfishers, especially of a non-English speaking background, of some simple safety measures coordinated by the Recreational fishing Alliance of NSW and Surf Life Saving Australia.
• the production and distribution of the successful Rockfishing Safety resource folder. The folders include DVD’s on how to rockfish safely, translated into Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese, which are distributed free of charge to anglers.
• a research study by the Royal Life Saving Society to identify and examine recreational fishing related deaths, including rock fishing, since 2002.
The NSW Government has also provided additional funding of $90,000 to extend these programs, including distributing multilingual safety information to recreational fishing licence holders and signage at angel ring locations.
ANSA Angel Ring Program Coordinator Stan Konstantaras said despite the wide-ranging safety programs, it was disappointing that rock fishing deaths continue to occur.
“Rockfishing deaths are on the rise because many are inexperienced anglers who fish during dangerous conditions,” Mr Konstantaras said.
“Fishing is fun – but it should never be at the expense of your life.
“Always rockfish with a lifejacket, check the weather and tidal conditions prior to going out, wear the right clothing and footwear, fish with other people, and tell someone of your fishing plans.”
Mr Whan said the NSW Government also urges those going rock fishing to use common sense and check the swell and tide conditions prior to going.
Further information on rockfishing safety, including coastal reports, Maritime alerts and multilingual brochures, can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/saltwater/safety or www.safefishing.com.au.