Rock-Based Fishing Research

Rock-Based Fishing Research

Fishing from rocks 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, initiating the implementation of the West Coast Rock-based Fishing Project. 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-based Fishing

West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project 2022

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

This report is an evaluation of the 2022 West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project collaborative intervention by Drowning Prevention Auckland (DPA) and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSN) and Auckland Council. This is the 17th year of the project, a successful intervention that has reduced fisher drowning in our west coast beaches significantly over the years. The 2021-22 season was atypical due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings from the Rock-based Fishers survey YE2022: 94% male, most were aged 30-64 years (68%), one-half Asian peoples (50%), comprised mainly of Filipino (23%), Korean (33%), and Chinese (33%) descent. One fifth (20%) were first-time visitors to the fishing site where they were interviewed. Never wearing a lifejacket when fishing from rocks continues to be a persistent high-risk behaviour, 27% were wearing a lifejacket when completing the survey but 35% did not because they didn’t consider it risky enough, 18% had forgotten to bring it, 33% didn’t own one, and 9% didn’t like wearing one. Most fishers (89%) agreed that wearing a lifejacket made rock-based fishing safer (2021, 86% agreed).

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-based Fishing e-Learning Module.