National rockfishing safety campaign

With new figures confirming rock fishing’s reputation as one of the most dangerous pastimes in the country, Surf Life Saving has joined forces with fishing organisations to launch a new safety program, including multi-lingual educational resources, community workshops and the installation of additional angel rings at popular rock fishing spots.

The 2009 National Coastal Safety Report produced by Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) found that of the 94 people who died by drowning around the coast during the twelve months to 30 June 2009, 12 (13 per cent) were fishing from rocks or beaches at the time.

And in a startling indicator of how poorly-prepared many rock fishers are, 75 per cent of respondents recently interviewed admitted to never wearing a lifejacket when they fish.

SLSA CEO Brett Williamson OAM said the new intervention program would target high-risk groups, particularly in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
“Rock fishers need to ensure they fish in a safe manner and, thanks to funding from the Australian Government, we are working with recreational fishing bodies to implement a comprehensive program which focuses on education and intervention,” he said.

“Along with new educational resources in a number of community languages, we will conduct a series of workshops in NSW, Victoria and WA, as well as implementing the recommendations of the coastal risk audit conducted in the Randwick local government area, which is the national ‘black spot’ for rock fishing deaths, with 10 fatalities over the past five years.
“Our simple message to rock fishers is – always wear a lifejacket and don’t put your life on the line,” Williamson concluded.

The national program was launched by Federal Member for Kingsford Smith, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, at Bondi this week, with the first in the series of community workshops to be held around the country.

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