WA shark cull figures revealed

THE West Australian Government says its controversial shark culling policy is restoring confidence among the state’s beachgoers and contributing to the scientific knowledge about shark behaviour.

In addition to the ongoing monitoring and researching of sharks and the continued partnership with Surf Life Saving WA for aerial and beach surveillance, Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the added protection of drum lines had gone some way to restoring confidence among swimmers, surfers and divers using Perth and South-West beaches.

Baston said this week the drumline program had proved effective in complementing the other strategies.

“The drumline program is just one facet of the State Government’s $22million Shark Hazard Mitigation Policy which also includes aerial and jet ski patrols, rapid response initiatives, tagging and research, the Sharksmart website and the Surf Life Saving twitter feed,” he said.

Thirty drum lines were removed from Perth’s main beaches on April 30 and the same number from the South-West.

A total of 172 sharks were caught on the lines – 111 of them off the metropolitan coast – and 90 sharks were tagged before being released.

No previously tagged sharks were caught and 90 new sharks were tagged in drumline operations.

Fifty sharks larger than three metres were destroyed, including five over four metres. Another 95 caught were bigger than two metres.

The largest shark was caught in February at popular Floreat Beach and measured 4.5m.

“The human toll from shark attacks in recent years has been too high,” the Minister said.

“Our carefully implemented policy targeted the most dangerous shark species known to be in our waters – white, tiger and bull sharks.

“While of course we will never know if any of the sharks caught would have harmed a person, this Government will always place greatest value on human life and I am pleased that these measures working in tandem with our research have gone some way to restoring confidence among beachgoers.

“Our beaches are some of the best in the world and I want future generations and visitors to WA to be able to enjoy them without the constant fear of shark attack.”

Data from the drumline fishing can be downloaded HERE and data summary HERE.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says the data reveals the WA Government’s shark cull trial policy has been a failure.

AMCS Marine Campaigner Tooni Mahto said the heavy environmental toll of the policy is an embarrassment to the WA Government.

“The WA Government is spinning their program as a success, but to the majority of Australians, success does not look like 68 dead sharks,” Ms Mahto said.

“Instead of admitting the policy hasn’t worked, Premier Barnett now wants to extend the trial of the cull for a further three years.

“Not a single great white shark has been caught, even thought this species was arguably the main target of the cull. Yet four protected mako sharks have been killed needlessly, along with the capture of 163 tiger sharks and seven stingrays.

“Premier Barnett has not provided any evidence to show that the policy has improved public safety. Whilst the WA Government continue to claim this policy has been a success, it has been a resounding failure for the health of WA’s tiger shark population,” she said.

The WA Government has made a proposal to the federal government to extend the shark cull by three years.

Full drumline catch data is now at and the Department of Fisheries website

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