An independent study, by Queensland’s Bond University, has reviewed the pros and cons of shark netting, drum lines and exclusion areas in other areas of Australia and in other countries. The results have been reviewed in relation to their likely effectiveness in Western Australia.
The study was commissioned by the Department of Fisheries as part of the State Government’s $14m funding package for shark mitigation.
The results identified that shark nets did not provide a continuous barrier to prevent sharks entering swimming areas. They also had the unwanted effect of entangling and killing dolphins and other marine creatures.
Drum lines (baited lines set to catch sharks) were also not recommended as they killed a range of animals and did not guarantee that beaches would be free of sharks.
The study found that swimming enclosures (referred to as ‘shark enclosures’ in the report) provided a complete physical barrier that prevented sharks entering an area without killing the sharks or other species.
It said swimming enclosures were suited to West Australian wave conditions and did not silt up with sand and seaweed. However, they would be very expensive to build and maintain.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the State Government was keeping an open mind on all options, including swimming enclosures, and was keen to get public feedback on the report.
The report, The likely effectiveness of netting or other capture programs as a shark hazard mitigation strategy in Western Australia, by Associate Professor Daryl McPhee, can be viewed here.
The public comment period on this report is now closed.