Shark tagging beats the drumlines

More non-lethal tagging will replace drum lines as part of the McGowan Government’s new 5 million dollar boost to shark hazard mitigation in Western Australia.

This comes as they announced the SMART drumline trial in Gracetown will end on May 20 after being labelled ‘ineffective’ by WA’s Chief Scientist Professor Peter Kilinken AC.

Since 2019 the drumlines have only caught two white sharks, whilst the state government’s tagging system has caught 51.

The funding will be allocated to multiple forms of shark hazard mitigation such as funding Surf Life Saving WA, improving the Shark Smart App and Beach Emergency Number Signs.

The CSIRO estimated there were an estimated 1500 white sharks in 2018 and there are now 136 tagged, nearly 10 percent.

Director of Statewide Operations for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Peter Godfrey says their shark hazard mitigation is more effective with tagging.

Godfrey says the increase in government support will improve their operations.

“The funding will greatly assist with us being able to tag as many sharks as possible.

“It will fund our crews being able to go out on the water and spend more time across the state, which hopefully will lead to us being able to tag more sharks.

“We conduct targeted tagging operations. For example, if we get information about a whale carcass we will target our operations around there,” he said.

There was only one location for the SMART drumline trial but Godfrey says tagging is still the best move forward.

“I can’t comment on whether there should be more trials but the scientific information given seems clear.

“White sharks are fairly rare and catching them with just the bait can be very challenging,” Mr Godfrey said.

If you spot a shark you are urged to call the Water Police on 9442 8600, and download the SharkSmart App to stay up to date with shark information.

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