Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health and Physical Education | International Public Health | Leisure Studies | Sports Sciences | Sports Studies


In the 10 years from 2006 - 2015, seven percent of all drowning fatalities in New Zealand were the consequence of land-based fishing activity (Water Safety New Zealand, 2015). In 2006, a collaborative campaign was launched in the Auckland, New Zealand entitled the West Coast Fisher Safety Project. This paper reports on the findings of annual surveys from 2006-2015 to determine what impact, if any, the safety promotion has had. The most emphatic change in fisher behavior in the intervening decade has been the more frequent self-reported use of lifejackets (2006, 4%; 2015, 40%), and a gradual shift in fisher awareness of the risks associated with rock-based fishing and their vulnerability to that risk. Some risky behaviors (such as retrieving snagged lines, wearing gumboots/waders) persisted and require further attention. The implications of having 10 years of data to underpin our understanding of fisher safety and help shape its future direction are discussed.