May 1, 2014
WA surf lifesavers will not extend their helicopter patrol hours after baited drum lines were pulled out of Perth beaches yesterday.
The trial of baited shark drum lines began at various WA beaches in late January and came to an end on April 30.
Surf Life Saving WA communications and partnerships manager Neil Poh today said the helicopter patrol season and volunteer beach patrols also ended on April 30 at the close of the surf season.
“The fact that the drum lines came out yesterday is coincidental,” Mr Poh said. “It is business as usual for us.
“We have two helicopters, one that patrols in the metropolitan area from Yanchep to Dawesville and out to Rottnest.
“We also have a south west helicopter which patrols from Bunbury to Augusta, however it stopped its patrols on February 10, a week after the school holidays finished.
“The regular patrols won’t resume until the beginning of September and late November in Busselton around the time of schoolies.”
The WA Government wants to extend the drum lines trial over the next three summers.
According to statistics released by the State Government a total of 100 sharks were caught over the three month trial. Of those, 33 were three metres or more in length and were destroyed or found dead on the drum lines.
Shark expert, Colin Simpfendorfer from James Cook University, said the data collected by WA Fisheries would hopefully be put to good use.
However, he was not convinced the drum lines were successful.
“The program, based on the evidence we get from other parts of the world, is unlikely to be effective in terms of increasing human safety,” Professor Simpfendorfer said.
“Pulling the gear out of the water is obviously going to have benefits for the marine environment because there are a lot of tiger sharks in particular that have been caught and we know in southern Western Australia they are not implicated in interactions with humans.”