The West Coast Rock Fishing Safety project is a programme to help educate rock fishers on how to keep themselves and others safer when rock fishing. This project began in 2006 due to a spate of rock fishing fatalities on Auckland’s West Coast in 2005 (5 drownings in 4 months) which needed immediate attention to prevent further drownings.
This year will see the West Coast Rock Fishing Safety project head in to its sixteenth year and the longevity to this is based on effective collaboration by Auckland Council, Drowning Prevention Auckland and Surf Life Saving Northern Region.
The project focuses on the interventions aimed at reducing rock-based fishing fatalities and promoting a safety culture among this high-risk group of aquatic recreationalists.
With the inclusion of an Asian aquatic educator to DPA we are able to purposely target Chinese and Korean rock fishers who have been identified to have the highest representation of fishers on Auckland’s West Coast and unfortunately have the highest number of rock fishing fatalities. As Covid-19 is still playing a major role in how we live and the unfortunate increase in job losses, more families may be under pressure financially and therefore seek new ways to source food. Rock fishing may become a more viable option with this activity which only requires a fishing rod, bait and somewhere to fish.
Anecdotally, over the lockdown periods in 2020 (March – May and August) there had been an increase in fishing activity on the West Coast, further increasing the risk of drowning highlighting the importance of the West Coast Rock Fishing Safety project.