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Caution urged to those fishing off the rocks on West Coast

Published: 29 April 2021

News that a fisherman went missing while fishing from the rocks at Piha last week has prompted Waitākere ward Councillor Shane Henderson and Howick ward Councillor Paul Young to remind people about the dangers of rock fishing on the west coast. 

“This news is desperately sad and our thoughts are with the man’s family at this time,” says Councillor Henderson.

“In our wild west, swells can be strong and unpredictable.  For those that are new to the area, it is important to plan ahead. 

"People come from all over the city to fish in these wild conditions, and it is important that we protect the fishermen and the locals that are involved in search and rescue as well."

Be Prepared

Councillor Henderson says that there are several precautions that you should take if you plan to go fishing off the rocks. 

“It’s really important that people are prepared when going rock fishing, and there are several things you should consider when planning a trip.

“Clothing is really important. Wear a lifejacket and light, warm clothing with sports shoes, never gumboots,” he says.”

Councillor Young agrees, as Piha is a popular fishing destination from people all over Auckland, and especially the Howick area. He urges fishermen to know the conditions they are going to – check the swell, weather and tide forecast so they don’t get caught out.

“Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, and even better, go with someone who knows the site well and follow signage at the site.

“Spending just a little time observing the sea conditions and having an escape route planned could end up saving your life,” he says.

Use all the tools available

One of the most dangerous things you can do is to take a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to rock fishing. In fact, as most rock fishermen are male, families have an important role to play too, says Councillor Henderson

“Please urge your partners, fathers, uncles and friends to wear a life jacket and take precautions.

“Your prompting could be the thing that saves their life if it comes to it.”

When fishermen get in trouble, local search and rescue teams are relied upon to try and help out, and in rough and unpredictable conditions.  Think of the other lives that could be impacted if you get into trouble while fishing. Your actions mean others, such as the rescuers who come to your aid, may also be placed in danger.

“Please give yourself the best possible chance of making it home safe and keep an eye on your mates,” he says.  

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