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Shark hazard mitigation strategies.
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Three month drum line trial 2014
In January 2014, two Marine Monitored Areas (MMAs) were created to offer additional shark hazard mitigation measures in WA. In the metropolitan region the MMA included the area from Quinns Rock Beach to Warnbro Beach and extended from the beach to 1km offshore. In the South West, the MMA covered Forrest Beach to Prevelly, and also extended 1km offshore.
Within an MMA, drum lines were deployed about 1km off beaches and popular surfing spots.
Beaches within the MMAs were patrolled by vessels commissioned to deploy and bait drum lines, monitor the drum lines daily and remove sharks and other bycatch.
Outside the MMAs all responses to sharks were managed under existing arrangements, including the information being posted on Twitter, and/or beach closures at patrolled beaches.
A drum line is a fishing apparatus that consists of a baited hook suspended from buoys and anchored to the ocean floor. Hook size and design for the trial program were chosen to target large sharks and to minimise bycatch.
With assistance from Surf Life Saving WA, drum line locations in the metropolitan area were chosen based on beach popularity, benthic habitat, a history of recorded shark sightings and patrol coverage by paid and volunteer lifesavers.
Within the Metropolitan MMA, baited drum lines were deployed about 1 km offshore at Mullaloo, Trigg, Scarborough, Floreat, City Beach, North Cottesloe, Cottesloe, Leighton and Port Beaches.
Up to 30 drum lines were deployed in the Metropolitan MMA between 31 January and 30 April 2014, and were patrolled between 6am and 6pm daily.
During January and early February 2014, drum lines were deployed in the South West about 1 km offshore at Old Dunsborough, Castle Rock, Meelup and Bunker Bay. These beaches had increased shark hazard mitigation measures until mid-February 2014, after which the equipment was transferred to between Yallingup and Lefthanders, with a greater emphasis on surfing locations. These drum lines remained in place until 30 April 2014.
Up to 30 drum lines were deployed and patrolled at any one time in the South West MMA.
White (Carcharodon carcharias), Bull (Carcharhinus leucas) and Tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier) sharks with a total length of 3m or greater, caught in an MMA were captured and killed.
All sharks under 3m, and non-target species over 3m, in a healthy condition, were released.
The Western Australia Government received relevant exemptions for the trial program to capture and kill target sharks. Exemptions included:
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- Fish Resources Management Act 1994
- Western Australia's Wildlife Conservation Act 1950
Sharks that were destroyed as part of this strategy were tagged with an identifying numbered tag and taken a distance offshore, within State waters. The tags will assist in identifying the carcasses should they wash up on shore.