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   Sep 21

Shock tactics urged to save lives

ROCKY RESCUE: Jesse Huxley from Nowra owes his life to a mate and an angel ring. In 2013 he was swept off rocks at Currarong while rock fishing. Thankfully his fishing partner was aware of where the nearest angel ring was. The device kept Mr Huxley afloat for 90 minutes before being rescued.SHOALHAVEN has been listed as one of three areas that should consider shock signage at rock fishing black spots.
Nanjing Night Net

Deputy state coroner Carmel Forbes made the recommendation, as well as recommending lifejackets become mandatory while rock fishing.

The recommendations came out of a coronial inquest following the deaths of nine rock fishermen.

The inquest set out to determine what more could be done to increase the safety of anglers fishing off rocks.

In three years 35 people died while rock fishing in NSW. Each rescue operation costs between $450,000 and $600,000.

In the court findings it was noted Shoalhaven City Council is the land manager responsible for the area where one of the nine men, Sung Su Cho, died at Currarong.

In the court documents Shoalhaven City Council environmental services manager Kellie Lowe pointed out that due to the length of the coastline council could take on the safety of the rock fishermen on its own.

“The council strongly supports the introduction of mandatory lifejackets as the best measure to prevent deaths of rock fisherman. It is of the view that it would be a great improvement to the safety of the fishermen in remote parts of the coastline.

“Some of the rock fishing spots are a two-hour trip to walk in and out.”

Council manages 165 km of NSW coastline. The council’s highest priority for risk management that relates to rock fishermen along this coastline is signage.”

There are also six areas where angel rings have been installed.

On the release of the findings last week Shoalhaven City Council deputy mayor John Wells said council took the issue and the findings seriously but hoped NSW government agencies would share their thoughts on how best to approach the signage issue.

“Apart from the important safety issues, recreational fishing is a major part of our tourism industry, so we do have an interest in what the coroner is saying,” Mr Wells said.

“We will ask council staff to review the deputy coroner’s findings, so we can discuss them with relevant NSW agencies.

“Another issue for us is that part of our coastline is federal territory. It’s not straight forward.”

Cr Wells hoped the state government was not looking to the 15 coastal councils to use this as a cost-shifting exercise.

“Of course we are concerned with rock fishing safety, but do we put them on every rock shelf, and in how many languages?

“It’s a complex issue and signage is only one part of it,” Mr Wells said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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