OUR SAY: Why wait for life jacket trial to end?

THE New South Wales Government announced at the weekend a 12-month trial of mandatory life jackets for rock fishers.

The trial will take place in just one part of Sydney, the Randwick local government area where rock fishing is highly popular in areas such as Cape Banks and Little Bay.

These are some of the most dangerous places in the State for a pastime that has claimed too many lives.

There are about 50,000 rock fishers in NSW, according the the Department of Primary Industries, and of the 53 people that drowned in NSW in 2015-16, 10 were rock fishing.

In 2013-14, rock fishing was the number one cause of drowning.

No recreational pursuit should take such a terrible toll.

During the trial, rock fishers will be required to wear a life jacket, although for the first 12 months they will be only given a warning if they fail to do so. After that, $100 fines will be enforced and the government will consider extending the trial zone.

In recent years, amid calls for action on the drownings, many rock fishers have said they would not wear life jackets, but appropriate vests can be purchased for just $20, a small price to pay for greater safety while fishing.

While the trial is far from the Clarence Coast, there doesn't seem to be any logical reason why local rock fishers would wait to make themselves as safe as possible.



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