WA’s Environment Minister Bill Marmion has welcomed the findings of a coastal safety and rock fishing review, initiated after a man drowned in April at Salmon Holes, near Albany.
The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) review focused on key areas across the State.
Marmion said rock fishing occurred on much of the 3,600km of Western Australian coastline that DEC managed and it was important to ensure it was managed safely.
“Visitor safety is the department’s number one priority. DEC has existing visitor risk safety measures in place across hazardous coastal areas, including silent sentry devices and highly visible signs to warn people of dangers,” he said.
“This review has been conducted to examine visitor risk management relating to rock fishing management on DEC-managed lands, to investigate what other agencies across Australia are doing to manage this issue, and provide recommendations.”
“There were 14 recommendations in total and DEC will endorse all of these.”
Key recommendations from the review include:
- Adopting guidelines outlined in the Australian Water Safety Strategy, which recommends the promotion of safe rock fishing and better education, as well as encouraging fishers to take responsibility for their own safety by wearing personal flotation devices
- Supporting the formation of a multi-agency working group to ensure consistency in the approach to rock fishing across all agencies
- Supporting initiatives by local communities and organisations to install silent sentries, angel rings, tie-on points and other safety devices in suitable locations and examine each initiative on a site-by-site basis
- Preparing a comprehensive communications plan for delivering rock fishing safety messages to recreational fishers.
DEC has completed two further internal reviews in the past year, following a double fatality on the Penguin Island sandbar in December 2010 and a death at Serpentine Falls National Park in January 2011.
The review is available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.wa.gov.au