We are partnering with Surf Life Saving WA to develop new strategies for beach goers and users of the aquatic environment on the risks associated with sharks.
To lead this effort a Shark Response Unit was established in early 2012. The new unit will undertake additional research into sharks and oversee the development of a community engagement strategy to improve public safety and raise awareness of shark response and alert procedures.
The WA Government’s helicopter shark patrol service was also expanded in 2011/12 to include extra patrols in the metropolitan area, including Rottnest Island, and the introduction of patrols in the south west of the State.
Sharks are a highly diverse group of fish that can be found in all marine habitats, and occasionally in estuarine and freshwater rivers as well. There are more than 370 species of sharks worldwide, of which over 160 species are known to inhabit Australian waters, with more than 100 of these found in Western Australia.
Despite their sometimes-menacing appearance and 'man-eating' reputation, sharks seldom cause harm when interacting with humans. The presence of some shark species as ‘apex predators' – occupying the very top level of the food web – is actually an indication of a healthy marine environment. As well as their environmental importance, sharks are a valuable resource for the fishing and tourism industries.