Recfishwest Welcomes Continued Commitment to Support Safe Fishing as Major Milestone Achieved

MEDIA RELEASE May 4 2017

Recfishwest welcomes continued commitment to support safe fishing as major milestone achieved.

In a huge achievement for fishing safety in WA, the 50th Angel Ring has recently been installed at high-risk fishing locations across the state and Recfishwest has plans to install plenty more in the coming year. Angel Rings (or Life Rings) are an important piece of public safety equipment and are an effective tool to help save lives, especially amongst rock fishers.

Recfishwest Chief Executive Officer Dr Andrew Rowland said fishing safety developments over the past few years had come on leaps and bounds and this is a milestone for which all involved should be very proud.

“Our commitment to improved safety stems from the fact that we want to see all fishers return safe to their family at the end of a days fishing,” Dr Rowland said.
“There is no better feeling than hearing one of these rings has been used to save a life.”

“Land managers around WA, including Department of Parks and Wildlife, Local Governments and station owners have been tremendous in helping install important safety infrastructure at high risk fishing locations along great expansions of the WA coastline.”

“The roll-out of Angel Rings has been driven by locals on the ground in the regions who want to help keep their community stay safe. These installations not only benefit fishers but all users, visitors and locals alike.”

“We are very pleased to see the McGowan Government support this program, whereby a relatively small amount of funding greatly increases public safety outcomes,” Dr Rowland said.

ENDS

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Recfishwest MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Grose, tim@recfishwest.org.au

If you must fish from rocks, Recfishwest wants fishers to understand the simple rock fishing safety messages:
• Know how to swim – If you can’t swim, fish from the beach
• Wear a Life Jacket –small fishing life jackets, designed for fishing, worn by all safe rock fishers are recommended
• Never fish alone – fish with friends and family
• Observe first, fish later – watch the ocean conditions, the beach is always safer
• Use appropriate safety equipment – if rock fishing, use rock boots, wear light weight clothing, take ropes to tie onto rock bolts, wear a life jacket
• Tell someone your plans – tell your family where you’re fishing and when you’ll be home

There is also no shortage of Free Life Jackets around WA that fishers can hire for the day to ensure they return home safe after a days fishing. To see where you can pick up a free life jacket, visit: https://recfishwest.org.au/rock-fishing-safety/
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Fact File:
• In WA alone there have been 26 rock fishing deaths since 2002, despite this, some fishers are still putting themselves at risk of injury or death.
• Currently there are:
– 54 Angel Rings (Life Rings) installed at high risk fishing locations statewide (with another 9 to be installed soon) Current Locations include: Esperance & Surrounds, Albany & Surrounds, Denmark, South West Capes Region, Kalbarri, Quobba Station (9 to be installed), Steep Point, Dirk Hartog Island
– 36 Rock Anchor Points installed for fishers to tie themselves onto have been installed at high risk rock fishing locations on the south coast including: Esperance & Surrounds, Salmon Holes in Albany
– 21 locations have been established between Esperance and Carnarvon where the public can borrow 150 free life jackets.
• Recfishwest, under a contractual arrangement with the WA Department of Fisheries, leads the fishing safety program ‘Fish and Survive’ in WA, which aims to change behaviour of fishing safety through public awareness, promotion and communication of safety, and installation of safety equipment at high risk fishing locations across WA
• The Government has funded the program $140,000/yr for the next three years in a bid to reduce fishing related drownings and incidents.

Albany to get 10 New Angel Rings

In another major step towards safeguarding the lives of recreational fishers, 10 new Angel Rings will soon be installed at popular rock fishing locations around Albany.
Rock fishing is a very dangerous pastime and many lives have been lost, not just along the south coast but all along the WA coastline.

Prevention is the best cure and there are many steps rock fishers can take to ensure their safety, and tips on these can be found at www.fishandsurvive.org.au
However, Angel Rings are life buoys which can be thrown to anyone who unfortunately finds themselves in the water, and greatly increase the chance to survival until rescue in that scenario.

Recfishwest, with the help of community partners, are helping get Angel Rings placed at a number of key rock fishing locations around WA.
Spots close to Albany where new Angel Rings are soon to be installed are The Deeps, Lowland, Cable Beach, Blow Holes, The Steps, Tourist Rock at Cheynes Beach, Three Stripes at Cheynes Beach, Dunsky’s and Maitraya.

There were already Angel Rings in place at the Salmon Holes, and they have also been installed at locations around Kalbarri and Esperance recently with Denmark’s rings not too far away from being installed.  The latest installations in Albany have been driven by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the City of Albany.  The City of Albany’s Cameron Woods welcomed the installations as a great community asset.

“The installations are an important part of the mix to keep local residents and our visitors safe whilst enjoying our amazing coastal environments,” he said.

“The installations combined with signage and an education awareness campaign is designed to reduce the loss of life and the associated impact this has on families and communities.”

Local rock fishing safety advocate Andrew Jarvis welcomed the news.

“I am very pleased to have been part of the group that has organised to get the Angel Rings in place and it is good to see different government departments working together,” he said.

“I believe Peter Hartley, the district manager from DPaW, has been the primary driver behind the push on rock fishing safety and he deserves a big pat on the back for his efforts.”

With our state government 3-year rock fishing safety funding coming to a close, Recfishwest will be pushing to receive another round of funding to keep fishers safe in WA and incite behaviour change within our communities.