WA launches Sharksmart

IN the wake of widespread criticism of its recently introduced “catch and kill” shark policy, the WA Government has launched a shark education website that features up-to-date information on shark movements, world class research into their behaviour, and satellite tracking of dozens of sharks.

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the SHARKSMART website answered many important questions about sharks and what was being done to mitigate the risk of attacks along Western Australian beaches.

“The website is designed to give detailed, accurate information to the public quickly. It will be a great reference point for those interested in, or concerned about, sharks near our beaches,” Mr Baston said.

“It also provides advice about what swimmers and other water users can do to minimise their own risk, and provides the phone number for you to call if you spot a shark.”

Information on the site includes:

  • What to do if you spot a shark
  • How to reduce the chance of encountering a shark
  • Details of the State Government’s shark research and hazard mitigation initiatives
  • Cutting-edge monitoring of shark movements
  • Videos that reveal the travel patterns of 29 tagged sharks in WA waters
  • Latest research on shark behaviour
  • Shark education
  • A gallery of sharks found in local waters.

The Minister said the site would soon have technology providing world-first, satellite-based live shark tracking information.

“The development of that feature is well under way, and once we know that the data it provides is reliable and well tested, it will be added to the site,” he said.

In the meantime, beach users are advised to follow Surf Life Saving WA’s twitter account for the latest on shark sightings @SLSWA.

The website has been designed so that it can be viewed from phones and other mobile devices without the need to download an application first.

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