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Geoff

Rock fishing safety

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Not sure if this is the correct place , the mods can change if necessary.

I caught a radio discussion on Saturday morning. The host mentioned the possibility of a rock fishing licence be it a separate or an endorsement on your current fishing licence.
There is no shortage of reports, information & recommendations on the web however it appears the message is just not getting through to the rock fisho's.
The main problem is there are no laws for at least the basic safety requirments , eg life vests helmets etc. Then there is the issue of policing the laws.
I'll throw a few thoughts on the table for members comments.
Rock fishing licence. This may not be as silly as it sounds. Boaters are required to have a licence & are not only responsible for the safety of the craft, passengers but also carry the prescribed safety equipment so why does the same not apply to rock fisho's?
However, as all the deaths have occured along the coast, a licence would only be required for those who fish coastal the rock ledges.
To be eligible for a licence or an endorsement on their existing fishing licence they would need, as boaters do, pass an exam.
Those fishing from the rocks in enclosed waters would be exempt.
Laws. There needs to be laws introduced advising those who fish coastal ledges need to be wearing a life jacket, helmet & cleated shoes. With out them nothing is going to improve.
Signage. Getting the message across via forums, magazines, fishing clubs etc is in essense preaching to the converted.
To advise every rock fisho of the laws, signs could be placed on the access points to ledges, in particular those which are considered more dangerous than others.
They would be bilingual saying something like,
Warning: persons intending to fish beyond this point must be wearing life jacket, helmet & cleated shoes. On the spot fines of $ 50 or $100 for each offence.
Advertising: Place ads in ethnic newspapers, say once a month over the summer period advising of the dangers & requirements to fish ocean ledges & perhaps a rock fishing licence.
Policing: Laws are not worth the paper they are written on unless they are policed. Various goverment agencies like police & MSB to name just two, spend heaps of $$$$ driving around our waterways on most days burning up huge amounts of fuel plus wages to watch out for infringements or to do safety equipment checks.
If they can do that on the water surely a few officers can travel around by car to various fishing spots, especially when there are rough sea conditions & check on compliance to the safety equipment laws & a rock fishing licence if it becoms applicable.
Finally, costing say $1000 for the supply & erection of each sign. Newspaper advertising, at a guess $1000 each. Policing, part of their job.
Overall, $100,000 would go a long way to cover these costs which is cheap even if it only saves one life.
Your thoughts
Geoff

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