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.

West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project 2017 (Authored by: Dr Kevin Moran, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand).  This report is an evaluation of the 2017 West Coast Rock-Based Fisher Safety Project collaborative intervention by Auckland Council, WaterSafe Auckland Inc. (WAI) and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR). This is the 12th year of the project, a successful intervention that has reduced fisher drowning in our West Coast beaches significantly. Key take away points from the 2017 report include:

  • Drowning fatalities declined to less than one per annum since project inception in 2006.
  • 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.
  • Changes in attitudes and behaviours with regard to lifejacket use remain cause for concern with one quarter of fisher(24%) reporting often/always wearing a lifejacket (2016, 24%), (2015, 40%).

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