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Western Australians urged to stay SharkSmart during Easter salmon run

Western Australians urged to stay SharkSmart during Easter salmon run

31 March 2021
  • Annual salmon run and Easter school holidays coincide this year, promising exciting family fishing fun
  • Western Australians implored to switch on their Sea Sense and stay SharkSmart over the Easter break to reduce the risk of a rare shark encounter.

With the annual autumn chase of Western Australian salmon along the south and west coasts and the Easter school holidays coinciding, the State Government is urging ocean-going families to make safety a priority.

During their westward migration along our coasts, thousands of adult WA salmon aggregate to spawn during the autumn months before the Leeuwin Current then disperses their eggs and larvae to protected coastal nurseries.

Salmon form large schools along surf beaches and inshore reef systems, making them ideal targets for holidaying families who want to wet a line and catch one of these prized sports fish.

Although large schools of salmon are great for fishers, the salmon run attracts sharks close to shore. Swimmers, divers and other ocean users are advised to stay away from large salmon schools and other fish, seals or other wildlife acting erratically; and to fish, swim, dive or surf with a friend if possible.

While shark encounters in WA are rare, every Western Australian is urged to switch on their Sea Sense whenever they head into the water to help reduce their risk of a shark encounter.

Common sense tips to reduce the risk of a shark encounter include:

  • checking the SharkSmart WA app or website for reported sightings and tagged shark detections before heading into the water;
  • remaining alert to any Surf Life Saving WA helicopters and leaving the water immediately if a siren is sounded;
  • swimming between the flags or close to shore at unpatrolled beaches;
  • following any beach closure instructions and taking note of any warning signs or Beach Emergency Number (BEN) signage in place;
  • reporting any shark sightings to the Water Police on 9442 8600 as quickly as possible;
  • surfers or divers can also protect themselves with a personal shark deterrent (State Government rebates are available);
  • salmon fishers are encouraged to fish from one of the many pristine beaches along our State's southern and south-western coastline to avoid the dangers of rock fishing;
  • recreational fishers should also 'bleed' their catch away from the water's edge and dispose of all fish waste responsibly, to help keep beach areas clean and avoid attracting larger marine predators; and
  • if spearfishing, be sure to remove all speared fish from the water quickly and do not carry dead or bleeding fish attached to you.

For further information on how to stay safe in the water, visit https://www.sharksmart.com.au

Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Don Punch:

"Western Australia is home to a pristine coastline, and I am sure many families will be counting down the days until they can head out fishing over the Easter break.

"I urge everyone planning to fish during the annual salmon run, head out spearfishing or make a splash at the beach over Easter to switch on their Sea Sense and download the free SharkSmart WA app before heading out into the ocean.

"It is important that all Western Australians check for shark activity before heading into the water and follow common sense shark safety tips to reduce the risk of a shark encounter."

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