Since 2008, the Western Australian Government has been working to address the issue of human-shark interactions. More than $28 million has been committed for a broad range of shark hazard mitigation measures including aerial and beach surveillance, beach enclosures, community awareness and education programs and a range of research initiatives.
There have been 10 deaths from shark attacks in Western Australian waters in the last 10 years, with seven of these in the last four years. Following the fatal attack at Gracetown on 23 November 2013, the Western Australian Government decided in the interest of public safety, to complement the existing shark hazard mitigation strategies with the deployment of a limited number of drum lines over a limited time period off the metropolitan and south west coasts. Drum lines have been a component of successful measures to reduce the risk of shark attack in Queensland, South Africa and Brazil.
Design and implementation of the program drew upon a wide range of shark control programs that operate nationally and internationally. On 25 January 2014, a drum line program commenced within two Marine Monitored Areas. A contractor was employed in the south west and the Department of Fisheries managed the metropolitan program.
A Review of the 2013-14 program was undertaken following cessation of the program on 30 April 2014.
Download the Western Australian Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program Review 2013-14 (PDF 3.4MB)
The 2013-14 Program Review was independent of the Public Environmental Review (PER), which relates to the State of Western Australia’s proposal to deploy static drum lines between 15 November and 30 April each year for three years. The PER was open for public comment from 9 June to 7 July 2014.
The Public Environmental Review is available at http://www.dpc.wa.gov.au/Consultation/Pages/PublicEnvironmentalReview.aspx.
In September 2014 the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that the proposed three year drum line program not be implemented due to a high degree of scientific uncertainty about impacts on the southwestern white shark population.