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Staying Safe

The Western Australian Government is committed to keeping the community as safe as possible when using our oceans. There is no one simple solution, shark encounters are rare and the following shark safety initiatives, operational responses and shark safety tips, allow the community to keep informed and help reduce the risk of a shark encounter.  


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Shark Sightings, Detections & Responses

Shark Sightings, Detections & Responses

29 September 2016

The Western Australian Government has developed a world first, integrated shark notification and response system which is a partnership between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Water Police and Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA).

This system provides near ‘real-time’ information on shark sightings and detections to response agencies and the public, to assist people in making informed decisions about their water use. 

The notification and response system relies on two information systems – reported shark sightings from the Water Police 24 hour coordination centre made by the public, or surf lifesavers; and tagged shark detections from the Shark Monitoring Network.

Information from all reported sightings, and tagged shark detections is automatically posted simultaneously to four platforms, so it is publicly available and sent to land managers and relevant authorities. 

All information is digitally mapped in the SharkSmart WA app and shark activity map to enable people to check any recent activity before using the beach. These systems also generate tweets which are sent from the SLSWA twitter feed (@SLSWA), and send a text to lifeguards or beach land managers, so beaches can be closed quickly when needed.

Land managers such as Local Government and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) each determine their own operational response which may include beach closures or the installation of warning signs. Appropriate action is determined by the land manager when a notification is received.

DPIRD monitors the shark sighting and detection systems and issues alerts and warnings when there may be a heightened risk of a shark encounter identified.    

We all play an important part to ensure the success of our shark notification and response system. You can play your part by:

  1. Keeping informed of the latest reported sighting and tagged shark detection information by downloading the SharkSmart WA app, viewing the Shark Activity Map or by following SLSWA TWITTER.
  2. Reporting shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600.
  3. Observing any beach closures put in place by beach safety agencies such as SLSWA, rangers from Local Government, or Parks and Wildlife Service officers from DBCA.

Reporting Shark Sightings

The risks of encountering a shark are low, but we can all play a part to help keep everyone safe by reporting any shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600.

Report all shark sightings as soon as possible to ensure effective response procedures. Include:

  • Date and time.
  • Location. Be specific; provide the beach or landmark name, closest suburb or town and distance from shore.
  • Shark species (if known) or distinguishing features.
  • Estimated size (use a vessel or other visual marker for size comparison).
  • Your contact details for follow-up, if needed.

The information reported provides vital public safety warnings that may help to save peoples’ lives.

Shark Monitoring Network 

The Shark Monitoring Network consists of 40 acoustic receivers, which provide land managers, relevant authorities and the public with near real-time alerts of tagged sharks at key locations. 

Shark detections occur when an acoustically tagged shark swims within range of the receiver.

Receivers are located throughout the Perth Metropolitan area, Geographe Bay, Yallingup, Gracetown, Albany and Esperance. 

Receiver locations can be viewed on the SharkSmart activity map.

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