The sign at the entrance to Munmorah State Conservation Area said “Dangerous Seas Extreme Caution”. Despite the signage at least a dozen rock fishermen were fishing at the notoriously dangerous Snapper Point. Last week a man disappeared off the rocks at Snapper Point. His body has not yet been found. This is the 15th death in this area since 2008. There is a memorial at the top of the rocks for a number of the deaths and a single memorial to a local man Jesse Howes who was lost last year.
There is a warning sign at the carpark at the entrance to the fishing area and there are lifebuoys in proximity to the fishing area. Despite this, most of the fishermen were not wearing life jackets. The fact of the matter is that these fishermen do not understand the power and strength of the sea. A wave has the potential to pick a body up and move it around like a piece of paper blowing in the wind. Once a person is in the sea even wearing a life jacket may not help if you are being battered against jagged rocks or constantly being swamped by the force of the waves.
There is talk about legislation to force rock fishermen to wear life jackets which in effect may encourage more people to venture on the rocks. There may be an argument to actually ban altogether the fishing from such a dangerous place.
The cost of searching for and recovering the bodies is expensive. Maybe an expensive toll at such a dangerous place may deter the amateurs and leave it to the more practised rock fishermen. The toll on the families of these fishermen is terrible to imagine. The heartbreak involved in waiting for the inevitable bad news from an avoidable death must be difficult to bear. Why people would want to risk their lives to catch a fish anyway is beyond belief. I gave up fishing as a hobby years ago finding it easier and less trouble to buy fish at the fish shops.
Talk about an accidents waiting to happen. These deaths should be avoidable, but at the risk of further nanny state legislation what can be done?
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