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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 21 December 2021

Mandatory lifejackets to continue keeping people safe at Salmon Holes

    • ​Life saving lifejackets will remain mandatory at Salmon Holes near Albany 
    • Analysis of the McGowan Government’s mandatory lifejacket trial found it successfully reduced rock fishing risks and serious injuries at Salmon Holes
Lifejackets will remain mandatory at the rock fishing hotspot Salmon Holes after the McGowan Government’s trial found they increased the safety of fishers and visitors to the area.

There is a long history of fishing related deaths and serious incidents at Salmon Holes, with 13 people having died since 1983 after being washed off the rocks at the notorious fishing blackspot.

The lifejacket trial ran from 2019 to 2021 and covered the popular salmon fishing seasons, considered the highest risk period for rock fishing.

Nearly 3,000 people were observed fishing at Salmon Holes during the trial period, with 2405 observed fishing from the beach and 449 from the rocks. Of those rock fishing, 432 wore lifejackets and 22 were tied to rock bolts. Another 22 people were observed on the rocks, but were not fishing.

During the trial, 21 infringements (modified penalty of $200) were issued for not wearing a lifejacket when on the rocks.

The trial reference group comprising of the departments of Primary Industries and Regional Development; Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions; Fire and Emergency Services; the City of Albany and Recfishwest oversaw the trial and has recommended the Government continue with mandatory lifejackets at Salmon Holes.

Should other rock fishing areas be identified as high risk ‘black spots’ in the future, consideration will be given to expanding the mandatory wearing of lifejackets.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will continue to monitor lifejacket compliance at Salmon Holes. 

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:

“The lifejacket trial at Salmon Holes has been successful in saving lives, and the decision to continue with mandatory lifejackets will help to ensure this continues.

“It is encouraging to see more people choosing to fish from the beach instead of the rocks, and that the vast majority of those who visited Salmon Holes over the past three years wore a lifejacket.

“As we head into the 2022 salmon season, Recfishwest, with support from the State Government, will continue its rock fishing safety campaign to improve public awareness of rock fishing safety and the requirement for fishers and visitors alike to wear a lifejacket when on the rocks at Salmon Holes.

“I encourage everyone to put their safety first and take advantage of the free loan lifejackets available at five Albany locations to support rock fishing safety along the South Coast.”

Minister's office - 6552 6900

Last modified: 21/12/2021 12:45 PM

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