Shark mitigation strategies aim to reduce the risk of attacks

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Premier Colin Barnett and Fisheries Minister Norman Moore have announced a $6.85 million package of new shark mitigation strategies aimed at reducing the risk of shark attacks against Western Australian beachgoers.

The following statement was issued jointly by the Premier and the Minister for Fisheries

- $6.85m over four years for shark mitigation, education and research
- New service to track, catch and retrieve sharks posing an imminent threat

Mr. Barnett said the new measures were the result of extensive consultation and research and followed an unprecedented five fatal shark attacks within 12 months.

The measures include:

- $2million for a new service to allow the Department of Fisheries to track, catch and, if necessary, destroy sharks identified in close proximity to beachgoers, including setting drum lines if a danger is posed.

- $200,000 for a feasibility study and trial of a shark enclosure in conjunction with local government.

- $2million to continue shark tagging programs, including the use of real-time GPS tracking systems.

- $2million over four years for an applied research fund, overseen by the Chief Scientist.

- $500,000 for Surf Lifesaving WA to purchase jet skis to bolster beach safety.

- $150,000 for additional community awareness programs, including a smartphone app.

The new funding is on top of the $13.65million shark mitigation package announced by the State Government last year.

'These new measures will not only help us to understand the behaviour of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer,' the Premier said.

Mr. Moore said the State Government had reviewed the circumstances under which an order may be given to take a white shark posing an imminent threat.

'Previously the orders were used in response to an attack, but now proactive action will be taken if a large white shark presents imminent threat to people,' Mr. Moore said.

The announcement comes as Surf Lifesaving WA’s upgraded helicopter returns to the skies for weekend beach patrols. It will fly daily from September 29 until April 30 next year.

The State Government has committed $2.4million a year over the next four years towards Surf Lifesaving WA’s helicopter and beach patrols program. There will be patrols over metropolitan beaches for 221 days of the year, and daily flights by the South-West beach safety helicopter from November 19 to February 3.

Fact File:

- All shark sightings should be reported to WA Water Police on 9442 8600
- More info about Govt’s shark hazard mitigation program is available here
- Find more details on SLSWA helicopter patrols here

Department of Fisheries website
http://www.fishingboating-world.com/102508