Wharf closures irk anglers

Blair Martinac holds a kingfish he caught yesterday at a Dunedin wharf set to be closed to fishermen. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Blair Martinac holds a kingfish he caught yesterday at a Dunedin wharf set to be closed to fishermen. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The closure of two Dunedin wharves and the review of a third has led to the cancellation of a fishing competition, and concern among those who fish from them.

Port Otago confirmed last night it planned to close the X/Y wharf and the Leith wharf, both near Fryatt St, to the public.

Future access to the T/U wharf, in the same area, was being reviewed.

Port Otago commercial general manager Peter Brown said it was not appropriate to have fishing on the X/Y and Leith wharves.

The issue was public safety.

''Those wharves are used sometimes seven days a week. There's activity on those wharves.''

ODT Graphic
ODT Graphic

Members of the public moving among trucks unloading and staff working ''just isn't acceptable''.

Mr Brown did not know last night when they would be closed, but at the time of the salmon fishing competition, usually held in February or March, both wharves would be closed.

The future of the T/U wharf was being reviewed, and if it was open to the public in future it would only be for foot traffic, and that would depend on business activity at the wharf and adjacent stores.

Wharves at the Steamer Basin were also not safe to use, apart from the area at the city end.

Asked why the decision had been made now, Mr Brown said it was ''simply a review of safety and the risk we believe exists''.

Otago Salmon Anglers president Colin Williams did not want to talk about the issue yesterday before discussing it with members.

But the association left a notice by the wharves that said the competition had been cancelled ''due to Port Otago rescinding access to all their wharves''.

The notice said it would be unfair to land-based competitors ''that many of the prime fishing spots would be closed'' putting undue pressure on the remaining areas available.

In lieu of the competition, the association would put up a cash prize for the heaviest salmon caught and weighed before March 31.

Fisherman Blair Martinac said on social media, a lot of people looked forward to the event which was ''no longer taking place due to Port Otago''.

He said fishing was an activity people needed in their lives.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

Comments

This is all just a result of our increasingly litigious society, where no matter how clumsy people are, if they get injured then it is someone else's fault. In this case the Port Otago politically correct risk assessment people are simply averting risk from being sued by someone who will walk in front of a forklift, or even just slip off the wharf.
If we all stopped blaming someone else when we step in a puddle or drop our ice cream, then one day we might be able to fish off wharves again. Until then, I guess we're all too blame. Now who can I blame for that!

This is an industrial site. Sometimes, it is quiet. Fish then. Accidents happen when an irresistible force (longshorewoman), meets an immovable object. ACC then picks up the tab.

Members of the public moving among trucks unloading and staff working ''just isn't acceptable''.
I guess the DCC will have to follow suit and ban the public from all streets where trucks are on / off loaded.
... ''simply a review of safety and the risk we believe exists''.
I thought a major decision like this would be based on solid statisical data, i.e. the number of people not employed by Port Otago who have been killed or injured (fish hooks in fingers don't count) on the wharves in the last 25 years as a result of being runover, crushed, hit, etc., by Port Otago equipment and/or staff, then compare those figures to the number of deaths and injuries that have occured on Dunedin streets.
I don't fish off the wharves, but on the odd occasion I have taken a walk around them and it's great to see the number of parents down there with their kids having a great time.
Guess the kids will have to show Mum & Dad how to sit on the couch and play video games.
Utter PC BS