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Visitors to South Coast national parks urged to take care

Rock fishing at Salmon Holes. Photo - Parks and Wildlife
Rock fishing at Salmon Holes. Photo - Parks and Wildlife

Visitors to South Coast national parks are being urged to put their safety first when spending time near the ocean during Easter and the school holidays.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife, in collaboration with other government agencies and stakeholders, will expand last year’s patrols over the Easter weekend to include sites within Torndirrup and West Cape Howe national parks.

Parks and Wildlife Albany district manager Peter Hartley said staff across several agencies would have a highly visible presence at popular fishing locations within the parks to increase awareness of rock fishing safety, reduce environmental damage, increase understanding of waste disposal including fish offal and to lessen traffic congestion.

Mr Hartley said while the southern coastline was often at its best during March-April, the Southern Ocean could also be unpredictable and dangerous.

"At this time of year there is an increase in visitors to the beautiful and unique areas Parks and Wildlife manages,” Mr Hartley said.

“In particular, people come to the region to fish for Australian salmon, and we urge people to consider their personal safety and fish from sandy beaches where possible. Our message is to keep sand between your toes at all times.

"The weather can change quickly in this region and large, unpredictable swells commonly occur, even on calm days. Waves can sweep over rocky headlands and sloping rocks, making them very slippery and cliff edges can also collapse without warning.

"Lives have been lost when people fall or are washed off the rocks and we can't stress enough the importance of taking extra care.”

Rubbish bins and portable toilets will be provided at the two sites for the convenience of visitors.  Control points will be set up at the two sites to provide information and manage vehicle traffic flows.

Other safety initiatives have included the installation of rock bolts and angel rings at popular fishing sites in Torndirrup National Park. Parks and Wildlife has produced a map of alternative beach fishing locations along the Albany coastline that are known to produce good catches of Australian salmon. These will be available from fishing tackle shops in Albany, and at the two control points. 

Safety tips for people taking part in coastal activities:

  • Watch the safety video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vB8pYS-KA_I&list=PLwKOFN5-6PcRJupF2KHk6MkQ9rkSx_JNR
  • Choose to fish from the beach, keeping sand between your toes.
  • If you choose to fish from the rocks avoid doing so in windy conditions, when the seas and swells are high or when rain is likely to wet the rocks.
  • Wear a life vest and appropriate footwear when rock fishing.
  • Keep aware of constant changes in the ocean.
  • Tie off on rock anchor points where provided.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Respect the area and don’t litter. Fish heads, offal and bait need to be put in bins where available, or taken away. Littering fines apply.
  • Don’t throw fish waste in the ocean. It will just wash up onto the beach and attract sharks to the area.
  • Consider other fishing spots. Wherever you choose to fish, be safe and respect the coast. All fishers have a responsibility to look after the ocean.

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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Twitter: @WAPARKSWILDLIFE