For many years, marine authorities, fishing and life saving associations, especially those along the east coast of Australia, have watched with growing alarm as dozens of rock fishermen lose their lives often in deceptively calm conditions.
In the Randwick Council area of southern Sydney, for example, six people have died while fishing on the area's notorious rock platforms since September 2011.The NSW Government is now considering a proposal to make the wearing of life jackets mandatory for all rock fishers.
Waves from distant storms: a fatal combination for Australia's rock fishers - Bureau of Meteorology
Rock fishing is probably the most dangerous sport in Australia. Every year a disproportionate number of people are killed when rock fishing in NSW.
Whenever you are on coastal rocks where waves can sweep you into the water, you should follow the same Rock fishing safety tips to keep safe. This includes if you are collecting abalone, oysters or other molluscs off the rocks.
If you want to rock fish, you should learn how to minimise the risks.
When fishing in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, you are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and carry a receipt showing the payment of the fee. This applies when spear fishing, hand lining, hand gathering, trapping, bait collecting and prawn netting or when in possession of fishing gear in, on or adjacent to waters.You can pay the licence fee at hundreds of local agents (bait and tackle shops, caravan parks, general stores and service stations); on the internet at www.licence.nsw.gov.au or by phoning 1300 369 365.
A NSW Government initiative to help continue to drive home the message of wearing modern, comfortable lifejackets while fishing has been expanded to specifically include rock fishers. The 'Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade' van, fully wrapped in vibrant signage and laden with lifejackets will be visiting additional locations to provide advice and guidance on lifejacket styles and maintenance.
The Old4New site visit map gives upcoming dates, times and ramp locations. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the schedule, it is however subject to change. Please note that stock is limited.
Safefishing.com.au has a range of brochures, videos and translated information on rock fishing, freshwater fishing and fishing underwater.
Translations are available in Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese.
More information from Safefishing.com.au