Abalone fishers caught in swell

Masa Takahasha with his catch. Picture: Louise White www.communitypix.com.au d412103
Masa Takahasha with his catch. Picture: Louise White www.communitypix.com.au d412103

TWO people required first aid and 14 were rescued by volunteer surf lifesavers during abalone fishing at Yanchep on Sunday.

Yanchep Surf Life Saving Club president John Heesters said between 150 and 200 fishers ventured on to the reef on December 1 for the second session this season.

Compared to the incident-free first one, Mr Heesters said the swell was much bigger and his six lifesavers had to help many people back to shore.

‘Every time someone needed help we got to them very quickly,’ he said.

‘All in all, no one required extended medical treatment (and) no one needed oxygen.’

Mr Heesters said 14 of the 19 rescues in WA in that day’s one-hour fishing window were at Yanchep Lagoon.

He said one volunteer, Bev Heesters, rescued five people, while the rest were spread between them, and the Wesfarmers Emergency Response Team on jet skis rescued one fisher west of the reef.

Lifesavers gave 72 preventative warnings to fishers before they went on to the reef, helped by City of Wanneroo Rangers and Department of Fisheries compliance officers.

Two Rocks Volunteer Marine Rescue Group patrolled the water beyond the lagoon.