I am just about to submit an application to install angel rings for a number of locations on the NSW north coast. Originally we were going to submit a standalone application for Broken Head, as mentioned by Dave Wilson (Echonetdaily 6/3/12). But looking at the distance needed for us to travel up there from Sydney I made the decision to try to get approvals for a few more locations and to try to better utilise our travel and accommodation costs and our time as volunteers. Unfortunately it also left me feeling very uncomfortable about delaying the process.
To his credit, Mr Wilson has been persistent and National Parks have been awaiting the application from me since late last year. The ball has been in our court but we have consulted with local lifesavers and local anglers up that way and are now requesting approval for a total of 11 new locations for angel rings on the NSW north coast from Yamba to Cape Byron. Mind you we have also worked on three new rings in the Lake Illawarra area of the NSW south coast and four in the far south coast town of Tuross Heads at the same time.
The good thing is that our angel rings don’t discriminate between anglers, boaters, people walking on the rocks, beach users or anyone else in their proximity and might I add nude or non-nude swimmers; however, I don’t encourage nude fishing…
The angel ring at Broken Head will be located just north of the current Marine Park Sanctuary Zone in the area and will be on or adjacent to the rocks. It will also be accessible to a swimmer who gets into trouble at Kings Beach. Because of its location, we will be relying heavily on the local community up that way to monitor the angel ring and assist us in replacing it if it gets vandalised or stolen. This happens very often and we lose up to 20 per cent of our rings each year.
We also have the option of using angel rings equipped with GPS asset trackers, which we are trialling, that would allow us to check up on the rings from anywhere in the world. These are substantially more expensive, but an option. In this location I am really hopeful that Mr Wilson can mobilise some of his troops as guardians of the angel ring.
I would like to add that this will be the first time that National Parks will have seen a formal application from our organisation to install angel rings in the area and I feel they have been treated unfairly in all this. Like I said, the ball was in my court and there is only so much we can do as volunteers. These locations need to be vetted by anglers and supported by anglers prior to their being considered and the consultative process can take a little bit longer than many people may like, but in the end we can only do so much as volunteers.
The next stage in the process is a review of environmental factors that will see us investigate any significant cultural issues in the areas with NPWS. Yes, I have been asked to move a proposed ring that bordered very close to a local Aboriginal shell midden, but we are happy to follow NPWS advice on these matters.
Currently we have 47 confirmed rescues with the angel rings and a few that involved swimmers and tourists walking on the rocks. The Angel Ring Project is funded by the Recreational Fishing Trust and is supported by the NSW government and National Parks.
For more info visit www.angelrings.com.au.
Stan Konstantaras, Angel Ring Coordinator