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Shark Numbers... declining?

Calls for more research

Shark Numbers... declining?

Esperance is notorious for its shark sightings and, unfortunately, shark attacks. There aren't many locals that don't have a first hand account or know someone that have had a close encounter with the greatly, feared animal. 

New studies, however have indicated that great white shark numbers may be on the decline. 

CSIRO want more research done into West Australia's great white population after a report by The Commonwealth and Scientific Research Organisation revealed the number of adult sharks had decreased over the last twenty years.  

The research showed that currently there are approximately 1500 great whites in the south-west region of Western Australia. Great white sharks have a high survival rate of 90%.

The CSIRO have echoed the sentiments of the Fisheries Minister, Mr. David Kelly, who have requested the federal government commit to more funding to research the south western white shark population. J

The CSIRO have reiterated calls made by Fisheries minister Dave Kelly for further research into the southern-western population. Mr Kelly says so far, his requests have been overlooked. 

“On several occasions, I have asked the Federal Environment Minister to commit more funding for research into the southern-western white shark population,” he said.

“Like so many other requests from WA, including a fairer share of GST, this request has been ignored.

“Since coming into government, we have introduced a number of new shark mitigation measures based on new technology and science, including the use of drones and personal shark deterrents.

“We will continue to look at any new measures that are proven to actually make our beaches safer.”

O'Connor MP Rick Wilson said the report confirmed the state government ‘must take action now’.

“Since 2000, there has been one fatal shark attack on the east coast compared to 15 for the same period in Western Australia,” he said.

“The state government has made a decision that lethal mitigation measures are off the table and that’s their call, but they need to do something to protect the people of Western Australia.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that the State Government is spending millions of dollars on seasonal surveillance programs in Perth and a few South West beaches, but they’ve got nothing for the south coast.”

Mr Wilson said he had been discussing shark mitigation options with a number of Esperance locals, about using similar technology to what the State Government has in place in Perth.

“I’ll be forwarding a proposal for a surveillance and warning system to the Minister within the next few weeks and I’ll be expecting that he gives it due consideration in the interest of protecting ocean users on the south coast,” he said.

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