Rock fishing

Rock fishing

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

Don't put your life on the line

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.

What do I need to remember when rock fishing?

If you want to rock fish, you should learn how to minimise the risks.

  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Stay alert to the weather conditions
  • Plan an escape route in case you are washed in
  • Never turn your back on the ocean
  • Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothing
  • Do not jump in if someone is washed in - wait for assistance
  • Never fish alone

More information on Rock fishing safety tips

Do I need a recreational fishing licence?

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 or by phoning 1300 369 365.

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