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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 14 August 2018

WA to conduct scientific trial of SMART drumlines

  • ​McGowan Government will conduct a non-lethal SMART drumline trial in WA’s south-west
  • The trial will be subject to independent scientific assessment to determine its effectiveness
  • An independent review to be conducted by Chief Scientist Peter Klinken

The McGowan Government will trial SMART drumlines in the State’s south-west to determine if the non-lethal technology is effective at reducing shark attacks in Western Australia.

Non-lethal SMART drumlines have been used in northern New South Wales since 2015 to catch, tag, relocate and release sharks.

The information provided by the NSW Government on their trial is insufficient to determine the effectiveness of SMART drumlines and guide a long-term financial investment for WA’s coastline.

A local trial, carried out in local conditions, will determine if the technology is effective for WA. Chief Scientist Peter Klinken will be conducting an independent scientific analysis of the trial and the McGowan Government’s world-first personal shark deterrent subsidy.

The McGowan Government’s shark mitigation policies are based on science and research, and a long-term decision on SMART drumlines will be no different.

All shark bites since 2000 have been attributed to White Sharks and therefore they will be the target species for this program. Tiger or Bull Sharks caught that are over two metres will also be tagged. 
It is expected the trial will run for at least 12 months and be conducted in the Gracetown area. Final details and costs will be determined and announced in the coming weeks.

The trial will complement the McGowan Government’s existing comprehensive shark mitigation strategy. This includes a world-first personal shark deterrent subsidy; funding Surf Life Saving WA beach, helicopter and drone patrols; expanding the Shark Monitoring Network to Esperance; tagging operations; funding Beach Emergency Number signs; and providing funding for a swimming enclosure at Falcon.

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:

“The McGowan Government is open to any shark mitigation measure that is backed up by science.

“Unfortunately the information provided by NSW is insufficient, therefore in the best interests of all Western Australians we will conduct our own trial here in WA.

“Consistent with the NSW trial, the WA trial will be a catch, tag, relocate and release program. It is not intended to kill sharks.

“Our trial will be for WA’s coastline, specific to our local beaches, using local expertise.

“The purpose of the trial will be to determine the effectiveness of SMART drumlines in reducing shark attacks, and this will be done through an independent scientific analysis of the trial by Chief Scientist Peter Klinken.”

Minister's office - 6552 6100

Last modified: 14/08/2018 7:25 AM

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