January 10, 2018

West Australians deserve proper response to shark threat

The State Government must immediately outline tougher shark mitigation measures after more than 50 confirmed shark sightings across the State’s beaches in the first week of 2018.

Shadow Fisheries Minister Ian Blayney said in the past week there had been one attack incident and 12 beach closures across the State, including Rottnest, Cottesloe and Gracetown all of which had been sites of previous fatal attacks.

“These numbers should be ringing major alarm bells for the McGowan Government,” Mr Blayney said.

“We are entering our peak time of year for beach use by families and still the only strategy the McGowan Government has is a limited subsidy for a single device that is proven not to be 100 per cent effective.

“This is a completely inadequate response to a major public safety issue. The McGowan Government has prioritised vested interest groups ahead of the safety of Western Australian beach users.

“The shark deterrent device being subsidised is only suitable for a very small percentage of ocean users and will not protect individuals who cannot afford to pay the additional $550 for the device after the subsidy.”

Mr Blayney said the Government had stubbornly refused to even give consideration to available new technology.

“SMART drumlines are now being implemented at a number of locations along the East Coast to ensure public safety as well as marine protection,” Mr Blayney said.

“It is appalling that such measures are not even being discussed by the McGowan Government because of pressure from environmental lobbyists.

“A more comprehensive response to shark deterrents needs to be discussed and implemented immediately. WA beach-goers deserve to be protected and deserve to be protected now. The McGowan Government needs to step up to the mark and take responsibility.”

Fast facts:

· There have been 15 fatal shark attacks over the last 17 years in WA .

· Preliminary results from a CSIRO study into white shark numbers show that WA has twice as many great white sharks in its waters than the East coast.

· There were 30 shark sightings at metropolitan beaches and 22 sightings at regional beaches in the first 7 days of 2018.

· 12 Beaches across the State were closed due to confirmed shark threats in the first 7 days of 2018.

Media Contact

Denice Rice

0417 755 176