Rock Fishing Research

Rock Fishing Research

Rock Fishing continues to be one of New Zealand’s most dangerous pastimes. Five fishers lost their lives off Auckland’s West Coast in late in 2005. In spite of the persistence of rock-based-fishing fatalities on Auckland’s west coast little was known about this fishing fraternity, their demographics, perceptions of associated risk of drowning or their water safety behaviours when fishing at hazardous locations.

Learn about Safer Rock Fishing

West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project 2021

(Authored by: Dr Kevin Moran, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

This report is an evaluation of the 2021 West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project collaborative intervention by Auckland Council, Drowning Prevention Auckland (DPA) and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR). This is the 16th year of the project, a successful intervention that has reduced fisher drowning in our West Coast beaches significantly over the years. The 2020-21 season was atypical due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings from the Rock Fishing survey YE2021: 94% male, predominantly of Asian ethnicity (40%) and 30-64 years of age (68%). Experience of fishing at the site where they were interviewed had increased from previous years. For one-fifth of the fishers (28%) it was their first time at the site (2020, 24%), and over one-third (37%) had fished at the site more than 20 times. Most fishers (86%) agreed wearing a lifejacket made rock fishing safer, although less than half (40%) reported often/always wearing a lifejacket (2020, 38%; 2019, 50%).

Full details, findings and recommendations can be found in the full report which, along with previous years’ reports, can be downloaded from Related Files on this page (right). Read more about Land-based Fishing Safety and don’t forget to check out our Rock Fishing e-Learning Module.