Risking death to drop a line
DRUNKEN fishermen are risking their lives by climbing onto the sand bypass jetty at Fingal to drop a line.
Kevin Filer, manager of the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing Company, yesterday said people were constantly being caught trespassing on the jetty - a restricted zone due to the dangers of its high-pressure hoses.
If one of the hoses was to burst it could cause serious injury or even death to anyone in the immediate area, Mr Filer said.
He could not understand why anyone would risk the possibility of serious injury or death just to fish from the 450 metre-long jetty, adjoining the Sand Bypassing Project's control building off Letitia Road.
“The black rubber hoses can blow,” Mr Filer said.
“We're not killjoys. We don't want people to not have fun, (but) it's dangerous.
“All we want to do is stop people from getting hurt.”
People wanting to get onto the jetty have to scale its large fences lined with razorwire.
They also have to ignore the signs that clearly state: 'Danger, no entry', 'Trespassers will be prosecuted' and 'Authorised personnel only'.
While many people have been caught and fined for climbing onto the jetty, evidence of fish guts, blood and rubbish regularly left at the site lets Mr Filer know others are getting away with it.
“It happens pretty much every weekend and mainly at night,” he said.
“The police came down a few weeks ago and caught a group of 10 fishermen and they were all fined $350 each.
“In an effort to try to stop (the trespassers) we've put up the razorwire, but it hasn't stopped them.
“The only other thing we can do is get the police heavily involved to come and catch them.”
Mr Filer said the pressure inside the hoses, running the length of the jetty, was more than that of a fire hose and could do much damage
“The water pressure is about 200 PSI and we've got 160 litres per second shooting out,” he said.
“If it breaks, it will whip around.
“Potentially it could (kill someone).
“We are trying to run (the Sand Bypassing Project) of a night and when we do nobody is there and that's when it's most dangerous.”
Inspector Darren Steel of Tweed/Byron Police said anyone caught trespassing on the jetty could receive on-the-spot fines of $350 or a court attendance notice.
He said police conducted reg- ular patrols of the Fingal area and would be looking out for anyone fishing from the jetty.
Mr Filer said the offenders knew they were doing the wrong thing, but most didn't seem to care, even after they had been fined.
“Some shrug their shoulders,” he said. “Because they haven't seen what happens when the hoses blow, they don't care.
“I have seen what happens and I know how much damage it could do.”