**The following statement was issued jointly by the Premier, the Hon Colin Barnett, MLA, and Fisheries Minister, the Hon Troy Buswell MLA.
- Government announces baiting and catching initiative for heavily used beaches
- Faster, more aggressive response after attacks with more vessels
- Long-term coastal zones established with protection measures determined by local communities
Premier Colin Barnett and Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell today announced new measures to address public safety and help mitigate the risk sharks pose to water users.
- Setting baited drum lines to catch large sharks one kilometre from shore, with vessels monitoring the drum lines. These drum lines will be set along heavily used beaches in the metropolitan area and the South-West, and will be deployed 24 hours a day initially from January 2014 through until April 2014.
- Boosting the response to shark attack by immediately setting drum lines, leaving them in place for longer and setting them in a wider area. More vessels will be available for faster response to an attack.
- The long term establishment of specific Coastal Shark Management Zones along the coast, to be determined by geographical and environmental features and water use profiles (for example, swimming, surfing, diving).
- Developing a ‘Tool Kit’ for communities in each zone in partnership with the State Government to mitigate the risks of a shark attack at local beaches. Measures could include education pamphlets, aerial and beach patrols, signage, providing beachside trauma packs and the deployment of drum lines. Each plan will be reviewed annually.
- A community recovery policy to ensure support for communities affected by a shark attack.
Mr Barnett said the new measures would improve public safety and build on the State Government’s strong approach to shark hazard management.
“These new initiatives come on top of a raft of measures the State Government already has in place to protect beachgoers, like increased aerial surveillance, beach patrols, shark tagging and a trial of a shark enclosure in the South-West,” the Premier said.
“We are aware of the risks sharks pose to our beach users and the Western Australian way of life and we are implementing strategies to reduce these risks.
“But whatever the State Government does to try to minimise the risk there are still no guarantees, it is very important for Western Australian ocean users to always be aware of the risks of entering the water and to take responsibility for themselves.”
Mr Buswell said the new strategy was a result of extensive consultation with stakeholders and should help Western Australian beachgoers make responsible decisions when using the water.
“Through our new response plan the State Government will become faster and more proactive in catching and removing sharks after an attack. Beachgoers should have more security when using the water,” he said.
“These measures are just another step in the State Government’s long term shark strategy which will include the establishment of Coastal Shark Management Zones.”
The State Government has consulted with the Federal Government about these measures.
“The preservation of human life is our number one priority and these measures are designed to do that, with minimum impact to the surrounding environment,” Mr Buswell said.
The Minister said the strategy would enable Western Australians to make responsible decisions about their water-use.
- Includes reduced response times to a fatal shark attack and monitored zones
- WA waters will be divided into Coastal Management Zones and specific shark mitigation plan or ‘tool kits’ will be developed according to needs
- The South-West and metropolitan regions will be priority regions for the initial risk assessment
- The WA Government has allocated more than $20million over four years to 2015-16 for shark hazard mitigation strategies
- Any shark sightings should be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600
- Anyone wanting to receive alerts about shark sightings or detections can follow @SLSWA on Twitter or refer to the Surf Life Saving WA Facebook page
- General information on sharks is also available online via the Department of Fisheries’ shark information pages at the easy to remember web address of http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/shark
Minister's office - 6552 6400