Popular fishing spots at risk under safety study

FISHOS in NSW run the risk of being locked out of popular fishing spots along the coast as a safety study looks to slash drowning deaths.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph every beach and rock platform in NSW will be audited, with safety recommendations to be handed to local councils.

The top 10 riskiest areas in NSW – including Byron, Ballina, Wollongong, Wyong, Randwick, Waverley, Sutherland, Coffs Harbour, Gosford and Tweed Shire – have already been assessed.

Randwick Council has commissioned its own study after data revealed anglers were statistically more likely to die rock fishing there than anywhere else in Australia.

Recreational Fishing Alliance NSW secretary Stan Konstantaras said he hoped councils would be able to afford the recommendations, rather than locking anglers out because other solutions such as signage and education were too expensive.

“I don’t think locking it up or more regulations are the answer,” Mr Konstantaras said. “Our only concern is they don’t use the results to deny us access.”

Randwick Mayor Tony Bowen said the council would survey black spots from Maroubra to La Perouse, using interpreters where necessary to talk to rock fishers about where they came from, what safety equipment they carried and what level of safety awareness they had.

Of 47 coastal drownings in NSW in the year to June 2012, 14 were from rock fishing, and 11 from swimming and wading.

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