WAI West Coast Rock Fishing Project Launch Dec 13 PG (8) 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 January 2006 a collaborative intervention by Auckland Council, WaterSafe Auckland Inc. (WAI) and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) began. This is the 11th year of the West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project, a successful intervention that has reduced fisher drowning in our West Coast beaches significantly. 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. 

West Coast Rock-Based Fishers Safety Project 2016 (Authored by: Dr Kevin Moran, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand).  Key take away points from the 2016 report include:

  • Drowning fatalities declined to less than one per annum since project inception in 2006.
  • Changes in attitudes and behaviours with regard to lifejacket use are cause for concern with fewer fishers (24%) reporting often/always wearing a lifejacket (2015, 40%).
  • Fishing populations continue to be transient, predominantly male and, culturally and linguistically diverse.
  • Other risky behaviours (such as wearing gumboots or retrieving lines) are still proving resistent to change.

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). Click here for Rock Fishing Safety advice. For project information contact harry.aonga@watersafe.org.nz