ROCK fishers in Port Stephens will be governed by a new set of rules after councillors voted on Tuesday to opt into a new raft of safety laws.
The vote puts Port Stephens Council in line with Lake Macquarie, who adopted the rules last year.
Port Stephens Council general manager Wayne Wallis will write to NSW Department of Primary Industries to formally commit to the Rock Fishing Safety Act 2016.
“By opting into the Act, we’ll be enforcing that all rock fishers and anyone assisting them – including children in their care – will be required to wear a life jacket," mayor Ryan Palmer, who raised the item in a mayoral minute, said.
“The basic fact is that life jackets save lives.
“We recognise this is a change for our community, and we’ll be launching an education campaign in the coming months to explain more about the Act and what the new requirements are. Working together with external agencies we’re aiming to have this out to the community later this year."
Last April Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant announced councils would decide if the laws would become mandatory along their shorelines.
Those rules followed a trial in Sydney's Randwick that ran for 18 months after an extension in late 2017.
Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce said the body was supportive of "any initiative that will help make the sport of rock fishing safer", but Swansea MP Yasmin Catley argued the government was "passing the buck back to councils" by making the system optional for local leaders.
In December the Newcastle Herald reported that Lake Macquarie had opted into the rules and was working to inform and educate anglers and Newcastle was yet to decide.