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Find the latest advice, warnings, information and news here, to help you stay informed and be SharkSmart.

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Update on Gracetown shark advice

Update on Gracetown shark advice

17 April 2018

Update on 20 April at 4.55pm:

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has advised that from 6pm today (Friday 20 April) it will be removing its Regulation 44 closure issued for the coastal waters between North Point and Ellensbrook in the Gracetown area.

Caution is recommended at all times in these waters by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and it’s important that water users check SharkSmart before heading to their beaches.

Shark sightings should be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600 

Update on 18 April at 4.40pm:

Officers from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions have extended the closed waters notice, put in place after the two shark bite incidents this week.

The beaches in the Gracetown area between North Point and Ellensbrook will remain closed until at least 6pm on Friday (20 April, 2018). 

Beach closures should be adhered to in the meantime. This means beaches and waters up to two kilometres out to sea cannot be used by divers, surfers and swimmers between North Point and Ellensbrook. In addition, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has advised additional caution between Kilcarnup and North Point. 

Update on 18 April at 11.10am:

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) fisheries scientists have completed examinations of two surfboards recovered following separate shark incidents at Gracetown in the State’s South-West on Monday.

The surfboards were recovered following each incident, transported to Perth yesterday and reviewed by department experts.

Based on the examination, the department has determined the bite marks on both boards were caused by a white shark. It cannot be determined if the same shark was involved in both incidents.

The marks present on the first board are insufficient to generate an estimate of the size of the shark involved. 

Bite marks on the second board showed a clearer bite arc for assessment and indicate the white shark involved was in a size range of at least 3.6m to 4.2m. 

Beaches remain closed

Beach closures are still in place under a Regulation 44 closure notice for the Gracetown area between North Point and Ellensbrook.

The closure is in place until 6pm this evening (Wednesday 18 April) and an assessment and review will now be conducted this afternoon to decide if the closure will need to be extended.

Beach closures should be adhered to in the meantime. This means beaches and waters up to two kilometres out to sea cannot be used by divers, surfers and swimmers between North Point and Ellensbrook. In addition, DPIRD has advised additional caution between Kilcarnup and North Point. 

Further update on 17 April at 6.10pm:

Following the successful removal of the whale carcass from Lefthanders Beach today, in an operation involving DPIRD, DBCA, WA Police and SLSWA, people are reminded that beach closures are still in place under a Regulation 44 closure notice for the Gracetown area between North Point and Ellensbrook.

The closure is in place until 6pm tomorrow evening (Wednesday 18 April) and an assessment and review will be conducted tomorrow morning to decide if the closure will need to be extended.

Beach closures should be adhered to in the meantime. This means beaches and waters up to two kilometres out to sea cannot be used by divers, surfers and swimmers between North Point and Ellensbrook. In addition, DPIRD Fisheries has advised additional caution between Kilcarnup and North Point. 

Advice issued on 17 April:

Water users are reminded beaches remain closed in the Gracetown area, following two separate shark incidents yesterday.

Fisheries officers with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) have assisted Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) staff in work to remove a whale carcass from Lefthanders near Gracetown today. 

Situation:
The whale carcass has been towed away from the surf zone by Patrol Vessel Geographe and will be taken to Gracetown Beach, where the whale will be removed from the water at the boat ramp and transported by truck. WA Police have secured the boat ramp.

As the carcass is attracting sharks, until its cleared from the bay, Fisheries officers are ensuring no swimmers are in the water.

DPIRD is also providing support to event organisers of the Margaret River Pro following two separate shark attacks at Cobblestones and Lefthanders surf breaks at Gracetown in the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River yesterday.

DBCA and Shire rangers and DPIRD officers are monitoring the local beaches, with the first patrols commencing from 5.30 this morning. Vessels have also been patrolling the coast and a larger Fisheries Patrol Vessel is en route to the area. 

What to do:

  • A Regulation 44 closure notice remains in place for the Gracetown area between North Point and Ellensbrook. This means beaches and waters up to two kilometres out to sea cannot be used by divers, surfers and swimmers. In addition, Fisheries has advised additional caution between Kilcarnup and North Point. 
  • Keep informed of the latest detection and sighting information by checking the SharkSmart website or Surf Life Saving WA’s Twitter feed.
  • If you see a shark, report it to Water Police on 9442 8600. All shark sighting information reported to Water Police is provided to response agencies and to the public on the SharkSmart website and Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed. 

What authorities are doing: 
The State Government is providing additional support to the event organisers of the Margaret River Pro to reduce risks associated with the recent shark activity in the area.

DPIRD is assisting DBCA to remove the whale carcass from the beach at Lefthanders today. The carcass was unable to be removed yesterday due to unfavourable weather conditions. Once the whale carcass has been removed, a further advice will be issued on the status of the beach closure.  

DBCA and DPIRD officers continue to patrol the area, and remind the public that beach closures must be followed for safety reasons, and surfers and swimmers should stay out of the water.  

A DPIRD Fisheries vessel is currently on the water monitoring the area. Another larger Fisheries vessel will be in place from tomorrow to provide additional monitoring for surfers participating in the Margaret River Pro event. 

DPIRD is deploying officers to assist event organisers to coordinate vessel patrols and monitoring.

Extra information: 
Keep informed of the latest detection and sighting information by checking the Shark Activity Map on the SharkSmart website – www.sharksmart.com.au/shark-activity or the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter – twitter.com/SLSWA.

Check www.sharksmart.com.au/news for current alerts and warnings.

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