South West safe shark group to march at parliament house

Dunsborough resident Warren Brown captured footage of a great white shark which circled his boat for 20 minutes in April.
Dunsborough resident Warren Brown captured footage of a great white shark which circled his boat for 20 minutes in April.

Concerned community members have formed the South West safe shark group and will hold a rally on the steps of Parliament House.

The group will call on the state government to trial a Shark Management Alert in Real Time drum lines program in the Capes region.

Smart drum lines are used in NSW, and are not designed to kill sharks. Instead a baited hook is attached to a device with a hooked shark putting pressure on a line which triggers an alert.

When an alert is received, response crews take the hooked shark several kilometres out to sea where it is released.

SW safe shark group committee member Keith Halnan said the group formed because of the great white shark problem off the Capes coastline and the threat they imposed on the community.

He is joined by fellow committee members Jim Ross, Lorraine Macaulay and Paul Paterson.

Mr Halnan said quicker response times were needed to protect water users from sharks, stating last week a shark alert was issued at 5.30pm but a ranger did not put a sign out until the following morning.

“Having larger shark signs and a community driven approach will help save lives,” he said.

“It is about a rapid response, at the moment there is too long a delay which is dangerous to loss of life.”

Mr Halnan said the SW safe shark group would like to see Fisheries launch a vessel after an attack and  install a smart drum line at the site, one kilometre south and one kilometre north.

“Sharks stay in an area and that response will save lives,” he said.

In NSW, Mr Halnan said smart drum lines had caught 236 sharks, of those 215 were great whites which were tagged with a GPS then released out at sea.

“Only one shark did not survive the release,” he said. 

“The program has provided fantastic tracking data which showed the sharks stayed away from coast for longer periods and showed they moved around the Australian coastline and to NZ.

“Since the smart drum line program was implemented in NSW there has been no attack on the coastline where there had been numerous incidents.

“We are calling on the government go trial this program along the Capes region.”

The rally will take place at 11am on Wednesday, May 9 at the steps of Parliament House in Perth and the group are urging all of the community to show support by attending.

“This is our chance to make our beautiful coastline safe again. We need you there,” Mr Halnan said. “I urge people to car pool with a friend and bus options were being looked at.”