Science & Research
The Western Australian Government's shark mitigation strategy has a strong evidence based focus, backed by science. The Government has supported a variety of research projects and initiatives to enhance our understanding of shark biology and ecology to better inform our government policies.
Scientific non-lethal SMART drumline trial06 September 2018
The Western Australian Government has committed to conduct a scientific trial of non-lethal SMART drumlines and has deployed three additional satellite-linked (VR4G) acoustic receivers in the South West.
Ten SMART drumlines will be deployed evenly across 11.5 kilometres of coastline in the State’s South West, about 500 metres offshore from Hangmans surfbreak north of Gracetown to Ellensbrook in the south.
The final scientific framework of the trial was decided following community consultation.
The trial commenced on 21 February 2019 and is expected to run for 15 months. The intent of the trial is not to kill sharks, but to catch, tag, relocate and release white sharks one kilometre from shore.
Weather permitting, SMART drumlines will be deployed and retrieved each day, during day light hours. The drumlines will be continuously monitored while in the water and positioned to allow a vessel to attend within 30 minutes of an alert being received.
Where possible, the Gracetown trial will be consistent with that conducted in New South Wales, to allow information from the two trials to be compared.
Twelve months into the trial the Chief Scientist, Professor Peter Klinken AC, will undertake an independent assessment on the effectiveness of SMART drumlines in reducing the risk of shark attacks. The Chief Scientist’s report will assist government in making a science-based assessment of the potential application of SMART drumlines in Western Australia.
Extension of the Shark Monitoring Network
As part of the consultation process, the community was also able to review potential locations for the new satellite-linked acoustic receivers. Three new receivers have been deployed, two outside Cowaramup Bay and one at Lefthanders surfing spot, providing ocean users and land managers with near real-time alerts through the Shark Monitoring Network when tagged sharks are detected.
Click here to visit our online mapping tool which displays the location of the non-lethal SMART drumline trial and new satellite-linked acoustic receivers. The map is best viewed on a desktop environment. If you choose to use a mobile device to review the information, don’t forget to click on the blue and white ‘i’ icon for additional information.
Shark Warning System
Shark warning systems have been installed at nine locations in the SMART drumline trial area for the duration of the trial alerting beach users of shark activity in the area. The shark warning systems are located adjacent to surf breaks at Gallows, Guillotine, Cobblestones, The Womb, Ellensbrook, South Point, North Point and Lefthanders. An additional device has been installed at the Lefthanders car park. Locations of the shark warning systems can be viewed on the shark activity map. Additional information about the activation of the shark warning systems can be found here.