Fines for no life jackets at ‘Holes’

Jessica CuthbertAlbany Advertiser
The DPIRD's Bob Bogumil and Craig Severin with DBCA's Brendan Williams at Albany's notorious Salmon Holes.
Camera IconThe DPIRD's Bob Bogumil and Craig Severin with DBCA's Brendan Williams at Albany's notorious Salmon Holes. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson

Patrols are under way to enforce the mandatory life jacket trial at Albany’s popular Salmon Holes fishing spot, where 13 people have died since 1983.

In the WA-first trial, people can face a fine of between $200 and $1000 if they are caught without a type one life jacket.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly announced the State Government trial would run from January 1 to June 30, 2021.

After a public education period, fines could be handed out from February 1.

With salmon starting their run along the coast, patrols are being carried out by Fisheries officers and rangers from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development spokesman Ashley Malone said to date, no fishers had been fined.

“The main aspect to the officer’s patrols is checking if rock fishers at Salmon Holes are complying and wearing the compulsory type one lifejacket,” Mr Malone said.

“To date, no fishers have been fined and the officers have been able to make sure fishers are aware of the trial.

“The fishers can expect more frequent patrols now that the salmon run has begun.”

Mr Malone said Salmon Holes was chosen for the trial because it was a known fishing “black spot”.

“Since 1983, 13 people have lost their lives after being swept off the Salmon Holes rocks into rough seas,” he said.

“No fish is worth risking your life over and we recommend fishing from surf beaches rather than from often slippery and hazardous rocks.

“But if you are going to fish from rocks, please ensure you wear the correct safety gear.”

Albany district fisheries and marine officer Bob Bogumil was patrolling at Salmon Holes on Saturday.

“Saturday morning’s weather wasn’t ideal for fishing at Salmon Holes. It was quite windy and the swell was increasing; however, there were still 12 or so people fishing from the beach,” he said.

“I didn’t encounter anybody fishing from the rocks on Saturday morning or when I returned later in the day, so there was no need to issue any compliance notices for the fishers who were there.”

He said since the trial began, the fishers they had encountered seemed to prefer fishing from the beach — an option he said was much safer.

“The majority of people we’ve spoken to have been supportive of the trial, because they’re aware the Salmon Holes rocks have been a black spot and they understand the need to take action to enforce the wearing of a lifejacket,” he said.

“But even with a lifejacket, we would still urge fishers entering the dangerous rocks area to make sure they can handle the unpredictable and slippery conditions the rocks present.”

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