With abalone fishing recognised as the most dangerous coastal recreational activity in WA, with 5 fatalities since 2012, the 3 year, $300,000 grant will support the activity undertaken by Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) and its affiliated clubs to sustain abalone fisher safety.
Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) General Manager, Lifesaving Chris Peck said the organisation was delighted to receive the grant through the State Government’s Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, which would be applied to initiatives across the key areas of prevention, rescue, education, research and regulation.
Included in this will be a specialist training program for frontline volunteers specific to abalone rescue, as well as continued development of education resources and messaging, building on the existing abalone fishing safety campaign that has been delivered by SLSWA over recent years.
“For many years our clubs and volunteer lifesavers have been taking on the responsibility of keeping abalone fishers safe during the 4 hour west coast zone season, at both considerable cost and risk to the clubs and volunteers involved, so this grant also serves to recognise the essential safety service they are delivering to abalone fishers.” said Mr Peck
“While our lifesavers are trained to provide safety and rescue services at patrolled swimming beaches, the conditions and locations where abalone fishing is carried out provide specific challenges which require specialist training for our volunteers to ensure both their safety, and that of those whom they are required to assist.”
The recently completed 2019/20 season saw SLSWA resources of more than 500 volunteer surf lifesavers, 41 rescue water craft, 34 inflatable rescue boats and 6 drones utilised across the four, 1 hour fishing periods. These resources, combined with favourable weather conditions, saw a fatality free season.
For more information about abalone fishing safety, visit www.mybeach.com.au/abalone
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