Shire opts in to mandatory wearing of life jackets by rock fishers and those accompanying them

Life jackets are now mandatory for all people engaging in rock fishing in Sutherland Shire.

New legislation covering rock fishers and those accompanying them came into effect on Friday, November 29.

However, $100 on-the-spot fines for those who ignore the law won't be issued until July 1, 2020.

The period of grace is designed to allow enthusiasts to familiarise themselves with the new rule.

Under the Rock Fishing Safety Act, enforcement is the responsibility of councils, police, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Fisheries) and National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Sutherland Shire was one of five more coastal councils who decided to opt-in to mandatory life jackets for rock fishers after a successful trial in the Randwick council area.

The others are Ballina, Central Coast, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.

Grants of up to $30,000 are being made available to support the implementation of rock fishing safety signage, education and awareness campaigns.

Mayor Carmelo Pesce said Sutherland Shire Council decided to use the new legislation to improve public safety on ocean rock platforms.

"We are extremely committed to educating the community on safe fishing in high risk areas and this new law will assist council with both education and prevention," he said.

"Our Public Safety and Lifeguard Unit recently hosted a family fishing, beach and rock fishing safety day and this is another big step forward in our efforts.

"I strongly urge those who enjoy rock fishing, as well as those who accompany them, to familiarise themselves with the new rules and wear an appropriate life jacket at all times, as we want everyone to return home safe to their families at the end of each day."