WA invested in scientific shark hazard mitigation strategy

The government of Western Australia’s 2019-20 State Budget, set to be handed down on May 9, includes an additional $8 million on top of the $4.7m already funded for shark hazard mitigation initiatives using technology such as drones.

The funding boost will see Surf Life Saving WA helicopter, drone, beach and jet ski patrols continue at metropolitan beaches and popular South-West beaches from September to April each year for the next two years.

The extra funding will also go towards other shark hazard mitigation initiatives including WA’s world-leading Shark Monitoring Network and Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development tagging operations.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said with good shark hazard mitigation the government is helping to keep our coastline as safe as possible.

“Our comprehensive shark hazard mitigation strategy has something for all water users to help reduce their chance of a shark interaction.

“Our commitment of $12.7m over the next two years highlights our commitment to scientific, evidence based shark hazard mitigation strategies,” said Kelly.

Since 2017-18, the government has committed more than $28.6m in helping keep Western Australians and visitors safe at the beach.

The government’s comprehensive shark hazard mitigation strategy includes:

  • A personal shark deterrent subsidy for divers and surfers who purchase approved, scientifically proven devices. Almost 3,500 Western Australians have now purchased a device through this program;
  • A $3.84m scientific trial of non-lethal SMART drumline technology off Gracetown;
  • Beach Emergency Numbers (BEN) signs to help streamline emergency responses to beach incidents;
  • Surf lifesaving helicopter, drone, beach and jet ski patrols to keep a watchful eye over water users;
  • A partnership with Surfing WA to deliver free first aid to surfers and increase drone and jet ski surveillance for WA surf events;
  • Beach enclosures;
  • An extended Shark Monitoring Network to Esperance and the Capes region;
  • An Independent Scientific Advisory Panel on Sharks to provide expert advice to the State Government on new mitigation technologies and research on white sharks; and
  • Improved information for water users with a refreshed Sharksmart website and the development of a new SharkSmart app.