Dory operations involve a fleet of small boats with only one or two people on board, fishing in a designated zone and reporting to a parent vessel overseeing their activities.
Dory operations involve a fleet of small boats with only one or two people on board, fishing in a designated zone and reporting to a parent vessel overseeing their activities.

Authorities crackdown on high risk fishing practices

AUTHORITIES are joining forces to improve safety within the commercial line fishing industry, which has a reputation for being high risk.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is working with the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol to increase the focus on marine safety in regions including Gladstone for fishers who use dories.

AMSA general manager of operations Allan Schwartz said a number of serious incidents in recent years showed risk-taking in the industry was unacceptably high.

"We know that some - not all - dory fishing operations are not adequately considering the safety of their people out on the water," Mr Schwartz said.

"It equates to a poor safety culture that's putting lives at risk and that's unacceptable both from a community expectation and regulatory perspective.

"The people who work in this industry have families waiting for them to come home."

This year search and rescuers have responded to 25 distress calls to dories - small flat-bottomed boats - in Queensland.

The safety campaign will focus on education and national law requirements.

"Those families deserve to have peace of mind that their loved ones are being taken care of out on the water," he said.

"We've seen evidence of fishers with no access to two-way communication devices like radios and satellite phones.

"In the event of an emergency, these fishers have no way of alerting their mates out on the water to what's happening. We've seen evidence of people without life jackets and performing dangerous anchor retrieval manoeuvres which put them at risk of hooking-up and capsizing."

Mr Schwartz said the safety measures AMSA wants to implement were not "expensive operational overhauls", rather changes of low or no cost.

A workshop for dory owners and operators will be held in Gladstone on Thursday, November 28 at Gladstone PCYC from 9am-1pm.

For information, or to register, visit amsa.gov.au/dory-workshops-registration.