Crab fishing is becoming more popular, particularly at Northland beaches such as Uretiti and Waipu. More than 10,000 people reportedly visited Waipu last year with the intention of crab fishing, and this is expected to increase about 1,000 people a day during the peak summer months. Many of those are members of Auckland’s Asian community.

Since 2011 three Asian men have died while setting crab pots, the most recent in November 2015, when a 35-year-old Auckland man drowned after he fell out of an inflatable boat. He was reportedly wearing a wetsuit but no lifejacket.

WaterSafe Auckland has joined forces with Surf Life Saving Northern Region and the New Zealand Police in an attempt to prevent further rescues (21 drownings in 2105) and drownings. Steps initiated include multilingual crab fishing safety signage and flyers, education of Asian Safety Patrol members and practical demonstrations at the Crab Fishing Seminar and Beach Day in December 2015.

The group welcomes crab fishers to the beaches, but encourages them to heed safety advice and follow a few simple rules to help keep themselves safe. The core messages are:

  • Be prepared
  • Watch out for yourself and others
  • Be aware of the dangers
  • Know your limits
  • Most importantly, assess your own ability to cope with the risk and always wear a lifejacket.

These messages are outlined in greater detail in the Crab Fishing flyer attached in Related Files.

For more information on the crab fishing project contact Alan Chow alan.chow@watersafe.org.nz