Lifejackets to remain mandatory at Albany’s notorious rock-fishing blackspot Salmon Holes

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Albany Sea Rescue Commander Derek Ryall says the public must take their safety seriously.
Camera IconAlbany Sea Rescue Commander Derek Ryall says the public must take their safety seriously. Credit: Supplied

Lifejackets will remain mandatory for rock-fishers at Salmon Holes after Fisheries Minister Don Punch said they “saved lives” during a three-year trial.

The trial was introduced in 2019 after the death of 13 rock-fishers at Salmon Holes since 1983.

It stemmed from inquests into the deaths of three men at Salmon Holes in 2015 and 2016, with a WA coroner recommending that lifejackets be made mandatory at the notorious blackspot.

Albany Sea Rescue volunteers have also advocated for mandatory lifejackets at rock-fishing blackspots.

During the three-year trial period, 449 people were seen fishing from the rocks, with 432 of them wearing lifejackets.

Twenty-one infringements were handed out to people not wearing lifejackets on the rocks, with a modified penalty of $200.

The trial reference group included the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the City of Albany and Recfishwest.

The group recommended to the State Government that lifejackets remain mandatory at Salmon Holes, where compliance measures will also continue.

Mr Punch said the Salmon Holes trial had saved lives.

“The decision to continue with mandatory lifejackets will help to ensure this continues,” he said.

“It is encouraging to see more people choosing to fish from the beach instead of the rocks, and that the vast majority of those who visited Salmon Holes over the past three years wore a lifejacket.

“As we head into the 2022 salmon season, Recfishwest, with support from the State Government, will continue its rock-fishing safety campaign to improve public awareness of rock-fishing safety and the requirement for fishers and visitors alike to wear a lifejacket when on the rocks at Salmon Holes.”

Mr Punch said that should other rock-fishing areas be identified as high-risk blackspots, the State Government would consider expanding the mandatory lifejacket program.

“I encourage everyone to put their safety first and take advantage of the free loan lifejackets available at five Albany locations to support rock fishing safety along the south coast,” he said.

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