Surf Life Saving WA is praising both lifesavers and fishers as the final West Coast Zone abalone fishing session, held on Saturday 9 March, signalled the end to what could be deemed a successful season resulting in zero fatalities.
With five drowning deaths since 2012 during the scheduled west coast zone fishing season, a cautious approach was adopted by agencies which included the cancellation of a scheduled January fishing period due to forecast inclement weather to ensure the safest possible experience for fishers.
During the 2018/19 season, surf life saving services performed a total of 13 rescues, 11 first aids and 30 preventative actions, figures significantly down on previous seasons.
Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) Lifesaving Coordinator Nick Pavy said that fisher behaviour had improved on the previous year which indicated education and safety messaging endeavours were working.
“Over the past couple of years we have invested heavily in community education and safety messaging along with marketing campaigns and it’s great to see fishers heeding the advice and making decisions to improve their own safety and that of friends and family participating with them.”
Services delivered, which included beach-based patrol teams; Wesfarmers Lifesaver Jet Skis; Drone Patrol; IRB’s; and additional assistance from the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, relied heavily on the resources of host clubs which included Secret Harbour, Sorrento, Mullaloo, Quinns-Mindarie, and Yanchep who invested significant time and resources to mobilise the teams.
Additional clubs within the metropolitan area, who contributed lifesavers and resources to assist host-clubs, included Alkimos, Scarboro, City of Perth, North Cottesloe, Fremantle, Mandurah, and Port Bouvard.
“The operational alignment within, between, and across all locations has improved session to session, which gave our lifesavers on the front line the comfort that systems and processes are set up to enable success” said Mr Pavy.
“With just a few simple preparations, abalone fishing tragedies can be avoided. All it takes is simple planning and making sure you have the right equipment to make your catch easier, and safer.”
For more information on abalone fishing, tips and safety equipment head to mybeach.com.au/abalone
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