WA has introduced new laws prohibiting recreational fishers from taking whaler sharks, with an interdorsal fin length exceeding 70cm, in the state’s West Coast and South Coast bioregions.
The West Coast Bioregion extends from the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri, to Black Point, east of Augusta. The South Coast Bioregion stretches from there to the WA border.
Department of Fisheries shark scientist Dr Rory McAuley said WA’s new regulations would assist in the protection and, in some cases, the recovery of at-risk species within the Family Carcharhinidae, which all whaler sharks belonged to.
“Dusky whalers and sandbar sharks have been identified as being over-exploited in the past and are species that are particularly at risk,” Dr McAuley said.
“Because of the inherent difficulties in identification of the various species in the whaler family and their generally low reproduction rates, broader protection is a responsible approach.
“However, a limited quantity of large whaler sharks, greater than 70cm, can still be taken in certain fisheries by commercial fishers and by recreational fishers in northern waters.”
Further details of the new arrangements, with illustrations of how to measure a whaler shark correctly, are now available from the Department of Fisheries’ website at www.fish.wa.gov.au.