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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Shark recreational fishing

Boat-based and shore-based recreational fishers take sharks in Western Australia, mainly in the West Coast and South Coast Bioregions. Sharks are not always the target species but are caught accidentally when sharks take bait intended for other species. Although most species of sharks are released by recreational fishers, gummy and whiskery sharks as exceptions are often kept.

There is a Statewide total ban on catching grey nurse, white, speartooth and whale sharks. 

For other species of sharks, there are bag limits and in some cases, size limits. In addition, if you are fishing with the use of a powered boat, you require a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence.  

Size limits

In the West Coast and South Coast​ bioregions, but not other areas, whaler sharks have a maximum size limit. The limit was introduced in 2009 as part of the recovery plan for dusky and sandbar sharks and is designed to protect larger breeding sharks.

The 'inter-dorsal fin' measurement must be no more than 700 mm measured from the front of the dorsal fin on the top of the shark to the back of the smaller rear dorsal fin.

Whaler shark species include the dusky shark, bronze whaler, sandbar ‘thickskin’ shark, spinner shark and bull shark.

Fishing rules

Legislation has been introduced which prohibits fishing with wire trace within 800 metres from shore at all metropolitan beaches and the Swan-Canning Estuary. The Prohibition on Fishing (Wire Trace) Order 2022 has been amended to include all beaches from Tim’s Thicket Beach to 5 kilometres north of Two Rocks and includes all waters of the Swan-Canning Estuary. The revised restrictions complement the existing statewide prohibition on the use of mammal and bird products as berley, such as blood and offal. More information and a map​ are available online.

Information on fishing rules for sharks including size and bag limits can be found online or in our Statewide Recreational fishing guide.

Last modified: 26/10/2023 1:03 PM

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