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WA Fishermen

WA Fishermen

WA Fishermen

Bella Sardelis, Reporter

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Over the Easter break in March 2018, the Western Australian Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly urged all recreational fishers, especially those who fish in the south-west “to keep safe and avoid the dangers of rock fishing by fishing from WA’s beautiful beaches.”

Parks and Wildlife Service Albany Manager, Peter Hartley also encouraged fishers fishing in the popular salmon hot spot on the south coast to wear safety vests, in a Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions statement.

According to data from the Royal Life Saving Society, there were 34 rock fishing drowning deaths from 2001-02 to 2015-16. A quarter of those incidents occurred at Salmon Holes in Albany.

Alanna Hubbard, a spokeswoman for Recfishwest, the peak body that represents the interest of recreational fishers in WA, said slim life line jacket vests are the best options for recreational fishers to use when fishing in rocky areas.

“They offer a high level of buoyancy and enable people to swim away from the rocks to the shore, if swept into the sea unexpectedly and they will assist a non-confident swimmer and/or child to stay afloat until help arrives,” she said.

Along with wearing life jackets Hubbard said that fishers must take other precautions into account when fishing off rocks.

“Prior to going fishing, fishers should check the swell and tide forecast before choosing a fishing location and they must be aware that weather conditions can change quickly and vary from predicted averages,” she said.

If fishers are not particular with the area they are going to fish in, the best advice they will get is from locals in the area. Fishers should also come up with an escape route, well above the high tide for when they see a large wave coming.

Before you start fishing it is best to observe the area to get the idea of the full swell and wave cycle. Fishers need to be prepared for waves twice the height of those observed during the period.

Hubbard also suggested that people fishing on rocks should never fish alone and “If in doubt don’t fish”.

Although life jackets do protect fishers from drowning Recfishwest recommends that fishers also wear light weight clothing. Such as shorts and a spray jacket which will allow fishers to swim more freely if they get washed in. Non-slip soles on footwear is also advised.

It is best for fishers to follow safety and warning signs in the area.

If you do get into trouble and are swept in by the waves it is good if you can grab, or if someone can throw you something buoyant that will keep you afloat. If there are no angel rings installed on location, you could use a bucket with its lid clipped firmly it can act as a flotation device you can throw into the water when someone is in trouble, Hubbard said.

Most importantly never turn your back on the ocean, if the waves, weather or swell threaten your fishing spot, leave immediately. If there is public safety equipment in your area, for instance rock anchor points, know how to use them. In this case you will need to bring your own rope to tie up and a bowline is the best knot to use.

If someone has been swept into the ocean its advised not to jump in to help, instead call for help and throw an angel ring or flotation device to the person.

Recfishwest encourage recreational fishers to avoid fishing from rocks and instead use WA’s beaches.

Recommended beaches for fishing in WA by Recfishwest include Preston Beach, Bunker Bay, Hamelin Bay, Yallingup Beach, Peaceful Bay, Parrys Beach and Cheynes Beach.

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Don’t get swept away