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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 18 February 2014

Government releases shark catch data

  • Comprehensive catch data released for metro, South-West drum lines
  • Fisheries and contract crews report high success rate in disposing of large sharks and releasing sharks under three metres
  • Onboard operations and equipment modified to improve shark handling, tagging and vessel movements
  • No by-catch of other fish species or marine mammals

The State Government has released details of the first three weeks of its new drum line initiative, part of a $23million shark hazard mitigation program.

The South-West contractor (who commenced January 25) has caught 23 sharks in total, disposing of 13 tiger sharks over three metres in length, and successfully releasing six smaller sharks.

Since February 1, Department of Fisheries crews operating at the five metropolitan beach sites have caught 43 sharks. Four tiger sharks have been disposed of, 34 have been released. Some 28 of these sharks have been tagged with ID tags to assist with research and shark tracking.

In total, 49 sharks were under three metres in length, nine were dead and 40 were released alive. These figures are current as at 6pm, Sunday, February 16.

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said today the early results showed the methods used by the crews were working well.

“We have caught and destroyed a number of large sharks within one kilometre of selected beaches, at a time of year when our beaches are crowded. This catch data proves there are a large number of big sharks near these beaches,” Mr Baston said.

Both the South-West contractor and the Fisheries crews have been able to successfully release the vast majority (82 per cent) of any sharks under three metres, with no by-catch of other marine species.

“We believe the hook and bait systems we are using are successfully targeting larger sharks and not other fish species, and I commend the crews who have been diligent in releasing as many caught sharks as possible,” the Minister said.

The Fisheries vessel used in metropolitan waters has been modified with a specially constructed ramp and sea water circulation system to ensure sharks smaller than three metres survived.

“The crews try to support the shark while it is being measured, tag it where possible and release the shark out at sea if time allows,” Mr Baston said.

Fact File (as at February 16)

  • 17 drum lines have been set at metropolitan beach sites - Ocean Reef/Mullaloo, Trigg/Scarborough, Floreat/City Beach, North Cottesloe/Cottesloe, Leighton/Port
  • 3 previous drum line sites at Old Dunsborough, Meelup/Castle Rock and Cape Naturaliste, moved after February 10
  • Currently there are 20 drum lines at South-West surf spots at Gracetown, Moses Rock and Yallingup
  • 66 sharks caught in total; 23 in the South-West and 43 in the metropolitan area
  • 63 were tiger sharks, two were mako and one caught was a blacktip shark
  • Drum line initiative part of $23million investment in research, monitoring, aerial surveillance, beach enclosures and public education
  • For more information about the WA Government’s shark hazard mitigation and research efforts, visit

Minister’s office - 6552 5400

***Data on the shark drum line deployment is available at:

Last modified: 18/02/2014 12:54 PM

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