Department of Fisheries, Western Australia
Monday 14 January 2013
Imminent threat order near Dunsborough rescinded
The Department of Fisheries’ Shark Response Unit patrol boat PV Hamelin is returning to Fremantle this morning (Monday), following a decision to rescind a specific “imminent threat” order, which had been put in place for South West coastal waters near Dunsborough.
Shark Response Unit spokesperson Tony Cappelluti said the department’s Director General had rescinded the order today following no sightings of any sharks in the 3-4 metre size range, between Bunker Bay and Quindalup, since late last Tuesday.
“The order was put in place last Sunday (6 January) morning after concerns about shark sighting reports recorded over late December / early January,” Mr Cappelluti said.
“There was at least one confirmed sighting of a 3-4 metre shark recorded everyday around Dunsborough (i.e. between Bunker Bay and Quindalup) from Thursday 27 December 2012 to Tuesday 8 January 2013. The only exceptions were Monday 31 December (when sightings were recorded at Injidup Point, Gracetown and Margaret River) and Friday 4 January when the large swell and poor water visibility made sightings particularly difficult. From the information available, it was not possible to know if it was the ‘same’ shark sighted on each occasion.”
Mr Cappelluti said Fisheries officers set catch gear last Sunday and again on Tuesday afternoon, but only captured smaller tiger sharks around two metres in size, which were quickly released.
“Our crew on the PV Hamelin has been doing daily patrols between Bunker Bay and Quindalup and monitoring the area along with the support of the Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) helicopter and surf lifesaving volunteers at the patrolled beaches and local authority rangers at unpatrolled beaches.
“The PV Hamelin also conducted extended patrols to Smiths Beach on some days and assisted with advising beach goers of a three metre unidentified shark sighted there yesterday.”
As part of its daily South West patrols, the SLSWA helicopter, Lifesaver 9, has made between six and ten passes a day over the Bunker Bay to Meelup area.
Mr Cappelluti said when determining if there was an imminent threat from a shark or sharks, a variety of factors were considered, such as the number of confirmed sightings, the level of hazard and risk and if the threat can be reduced by taking other action such as closing beaches.
“The lack of sightings, since Tuesday, of a 3-4 metre shark, or sharks, in the area of concern has been a factor in rescinding the current ‘imminent threat’ order. The department will continue to monitoring sightings and a vessel, with the capacity to set hooks and lines, will remain in the area following return of the PV Hamelin to Fremantle.”
Source: Department of Fisheries, Western Australia