Views sought be­fore trial be­gins

Albany Extra - - News - Tim Ed­munds

The fish­ing com­mu­nity is set to be con­sulted be­fore a trial be­gins forc­ing an­glers to wear life­jack­ets at known rock fish­ing “black spots”.

Premier Mark McGowan an­nounced in April an­glers rock fish­ing at des­ig­nated black spots in­clud­ing Sal­mon Holes in Al­bany would soon be re­quired to wear a life­jacket as part of a trial.

The an­nounce­ment came a month af­ter Al­bany fish­er­man Sam Roth drowned at The Deep west of Al­bany on April 1 to be­come the sixth drown­ing death off the south­ern coast in the last four years. A spokesper­son for Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly said on Tues­day, the finer de­tails of the trial were pro­gress­ing.

“The Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment is cur­rently work­ing through the leg­isla­tive and oper­a­tional re­quire­ments of a trial,” the spokesper­son said.

“Prior to the an­nounce­ment and con­fir­ma­tion of the de­tails of the trial, there will be com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion, in­clud­ing with Rec­fish­west.”

Rec­fish­west com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Tim Grose wel­comed the ex­pected com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod and said peo­ple were keen to un­der­stand how the trial would com­ple­ment present safety ini­tia­tives.

Mr Grose said Rec­fish­west was also eager to learn of the trial’s ob­jec­tives and how its suc­cess would be mea­sured.

“This trial will only ben­e­fit fish­ers if trial ob­jec­tives are clear, trial meth­ods ro­bust, trial out­comes mea­sur­able, and trial re­sults com­mu­ni­cated in a timely man­ner,” he said.

“As life­jack­ets for rock fish­ing are not a one-size-fits-all so­lu­tion, this trial pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to as­sess a range of life­jacket types in or­der to de­ter­mine the most ap­pro­pri­ate life­jacket/s for a range of lo­ca­tions and con­di­tions.”

Rec­fish­west has pre­vi­ously not sup­ported manda­tory life­jack­ets, pre­fer­ring a stance of ed­u­ca­tion over leg­is­la­tion, be­liev­ing an­glers tak­ing greater re­spon­si­bil­ity for their per­sonal safety was the best way to im­prove fish­ing safety.

“Life­jack­ets only work when a per­son is al­ready in the wa­ter and there are plenty of safety steps and de­ci­sions peo­ple need to make be­fore they go any­where the wa­ter,” Mr Grose said.

“Rec­fish­west want peo­ple to choose to wear the right jacket in the right cir­cum­stance be­cause they un­der­stand the need and ben­e­fits of wear­ing a jacket rather than be­cause they are try­ing to avoid a fine.”

Pic­ture: Bar­bara Cook

Sal­mon Holes.

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