Lack of de­tail on life­jacket trial a worry

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Toby Hussey

Few de­tails have been re­vealed about a manda­tory life jacket trial at danger­ous fish­ing spots, in­clud­ing Salmon Holes, de­spite com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion start­ing this month.

Fish­ers not wear­ing life­jack­ets at des­ig­nated danger­ous coast­line spots could be slapped with fines un­der the pro­posed manda­tory life­jacket trial an­nounced by Premier Mark McGowan in April.

The an­nounce­ment came af­ter a month of emer­gen­cies at Salmon Holes, in which one per­son died and two oth­ers were swept into the ocean.

It fol­lowed the death of Al­bany man Sam Roth at an­other danger­ous fish­ing spot near Low­lands beach be­tween Al­bany and Den­mark in April.

Un­der the trial, fish­ers would be legally re­quired to wear flota­tion de­vices at known ac­ci­dent hotspots, and could face hefty fines if caught with­out them.

Com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion re­gard­ing the trial is ex­pected to be­gin this month, although few de­tails about it have been re­leased — some­thing South West Re­gion MLC Colin Holt said was con­cern­ing fish­ers. He called on the State Govern­ment in Par­lia­ment in Septem­ber for thor­ough com­mu­nity en­gage­ment through­out the trial.

“It is crit­i­cal that con­sul­ta­tion is rolled out ef­fec­tively so that the Govern­ment can hear the views of recre­ational fish­ing stake­hold­ers and the broader com­mu­nity,” Mr Holt said.

Dar­ren West, speak­ing on be­half of Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly, said new laws or law amend­ments would be needed be­fore the trial be­gan and those pro­pos­als would be made pub­lic ahead of the trial.

He de­clined to re­veal which sites would be de­clared danger­ous, how long the trial would be, how the trial would be en­forced, or how the State Govern­ment would gauge its ef­fec­tive­ness.

“Op­er­a­tional de­tails of the trial are still be­ing de­vel­oped,” he said.

In April, Al­bany Mayor Den­nis Welling­ton sup­ported fines of up to $200 for fail­ing to wear a life­jacket on danger­ous coast­line.

“If peo­ple can’t think for them­selves, some­times you have to think for them,” he said.

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