WEARING a lifejacket is now mandatory while rock fishing in and around Evans Head.
The Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 was introduced to NSW Parliament following a coronial inquest into rock fishing-related deaths which found safety advice and education had not reduced the numbers of deaths from rock fishing.
The new laws will be enforced at high risk areas along the headlands (marked in red on attached map).
There is a six-month grace period, ending Thursday 25 July, with enforcement officers issuing warnings to rock fishers who are caught not wearing lifejackets.
Richmond Valley Council received a $30,000 grant to provide educational signage in key areas, and is working with NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries to stage rock fishing safety workshops in Evans Head.
The first workshop will be held at the Evans Head Surf Club on Tuesday 23 April, from 6pm. The workshops are free but bookings are essential online at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/rock-fishing-safety-workshop-tickets-57745327830
NSW Police is the lead enforcement agency for rock fishing safety laws, with assistance from Council rangers, DPI Fisheries officers and National Parks and Wildlife rangers (where applicable).
As well as always wearing a lifejacket, rock fishers are encouraged to follow safe rock fishing protocols, including:
• Check the weather, swell and tide conditions before you leave home; stay alert to changing weather conditions while you’re out fishing.
• Wear non-slip shoes and light, non-restrictive clothing.
• Do not rock fish when the conditions are dangerous.
• Never fish alone. Never turn your back on the ocean.
• Do not jump in if someone is washed into the ocean: throw a lifebuoy, call 000 or get help.