Moratorium on rock fishing fines extended
THE NSW Government has extended the moratorium on fines for rock fishers not wearing a lifejacket in the Randwick Local Government Area until 31 May 2018 while an independent assessment of the implementation of the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016 (RFSA) is undertaken. The Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW (RFA) has been lobbying the Government for a 12 month extension due to what it sees as a failure of the trial due to lack of baseline data, issues of funding and resourcing, lack of engagement with PFD manufacturers and retailers, and other problems.
According to an article in the RFA newsletter, the NSW Government has commissioned an independent evaluation to review the data and feedback collected over the past 12 months in Randwick, and says it will include a multi-lingual attitudinal survey of rock fishers in the community. The community will also be able to make a submission to the evaluation.
The evaluation will provide a basis for the Government to consider the potential further roll out of the RFSA to other NSW coastal communities and how that could best be implemented.
During the extended moratorium the NSW Government promises to promote safe rock fishing through additional rock fishing workshops, multi-lingual educational material, rock fishing safety campaigns and water safety messaging.
Over summer, the NSW Government is rolling out new water safety advertising and the Old4New van will continue to visit popular rock fishing areas to offer discounted lifejackets. New pamphlets and stickers promoting safe rock fishing are also being designed and will be made available at various retailers including bait shops and petrol stations.
Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said the independent evaluation will provide the Government with a suggested roadmap for the future of the Rock Fishing Safety Act.
“We need to ensure this legislation has the support and involvement of the community so it delivers the best outcome. We want regulation to be fair. We want to see anglers enjoying our coastline and returning safely to their families,” Mr Grant said.
“Government cannot be on every rock ledge. We need to continue to educate and prepare people so they know the risks before they go out to fish.
This year around 200 people attended rock fishing safety workshops in Randwick and were provided with free lifejackets. Since the Old4New program commenced, it has supplied over 22,000 lifejackets to the NSW fishing and boating community.
RFSA enforcement agencies, including NSW Police Force, NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Randwick City Council, will continue to issue warnings to those not wearing lifejackets in the Randwick LGA until 31 May 2018.