Four major research projects have either been completed, or are underway, to better understand white sharks in WA and the likely effectiveness of any community safety interventions.
The State Government has provided $1.7m in funding from 2011/12 to 2015/16 for the following projects:
- The expansion of the State Government’s world-class shark monitoring network. This program uses acoustic monitoring and shark tagging information to collect information on white shark movements (and some other species) in South-Western Australian waters. This information will be used to assess shark hazard risk factors and provide safety agencies with near real-time alerts of tagged sharks.
- A correlation study of the potential risk factors associated with white shark attacks in WA was completed in November 2012. The report explores the possible links between shark sightings, interactions or attacks and factors such as location, weather conditions, water temperature and the activity of other marine mammals that might attract sharks.
- A beach netting study on the effectiveness of shark meshing and shark exclusion barriers as a shark hazard mitigation strategy has been completed.
- A review of white shark population numbers is currently underway. It has been difficult to reliably assess the white shark population status because of a lack of catch records to input into population models. The Department’s shark scientists have been working to reconstruct catch information with commercial fishers, with the final report due in 2014.
Further information about shark research can be found on the Sharksmart website.