Anglers now fear they may end up being locked out of favourite fishing spots as every inch of the NSW coast is assessed for safety hazards in an unprecedented study to slash the drowning death toll.
Rough seas on the rocks
In a bid to design a drowning prevention strategy to reduce deaths by half, every beach and rock platform in NSW will be audited, with safety recommendations to be handed to local councils.
The top ten riskiest areas in NSW - including Byron, Ballina, Wollongong, Wyong, Randwick, Waverley, Sutherland, Coffs Harbour, Gosford and Tweed Shire - have already been assessed.
Randwick Council has commissioned its own study after data revealed anglers were statistically more likely to die rock fishing there than anywhere else in Australia.
Randwick Mayor Tony Bowen told Sydney's Daily Telegraph that the council would survey black spots from Maroubra to La Perouse, using interpreters where necessary to talk to rock fishers about where they came from, what safety equipment they carried and what level of safety awareness they had.
'Shockingly, statistics show that even though our coastline only accounts for 0.11 per cent of the Australian coast, our area accounts for 27 per cent of rock fishing deaths in Australia,' Cr Bowen said.
Coast Safe Project Blue Print coastal risk officer Stu Massey said initial findings had found many rock fishers were not wearing life jackets, or were putting themselves in dangerous positions.
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