No WA drumlines after fatal shark attack as sightings 'double'

The new West Australian government has ruled out deploying drumlines following a shark attack that killed a 17-year-old girl on Easter Monday.

The decision comes as experienced Esperance diver Marc Payne told WAtoday his encounters with white sharks along WA's southern coast had more than doubled since the predator became a protected species in 1999.

Laeticia Brouwer, who was surfing with her father while on a family holiday in Esperance, died after she was bitten on the leg by a shark and suffered massive blood loss.

In the wake of the tragedy, new Fisheries minister Dave Kelly has reiterated Labor's promise to improve safety in WA waters by focusing on personal electronic deterrent devices.

"We made it clear in opposition that we don't see the merit in automatically deploying drumlines because they don't actually make our beaches any safer," he said.

Mr Kelly said the new government wanted to promote individual shark deterrents and hoped to announce a new policy in the next few weeks.

"Obviously the whole incident is very raw at this point in time so I don't intend to debate the whole pros and cons of various elements of the shark mitigation policy today," he said.

"It would be great if we were in position where we could actually prevent further incidences rather than debating what you should do after an attack."

Last year while in opposition, Labor proposed a $200,000 subsidy scheme for personal shark deterrent devices.

Under the plan, 1000 devices such as Shark Shield would be available with a $200 state government subsidy.

Experienced Esperance abalone diver Marc Payne said his interactions with great white sharks off the southern coast had increased from one sighting every 1200 dive hours, to one every 500 dive hours since the predator became a protected species in 1999.

"We've always had most of our interactions with sub-adults and juveniles - I guess we are getting more action," he said.

"My interactions have increased a bit over 100 per cent... in most situations they're inquisitive."

Opposition leader Mike Nahan said on Tuesday that if his party was still in government they would have put out drumlines, saying the Liberals would always "give priority to human life over sharks".

He also questioned the effectiveness of Shark Shields.

"This is a tragedy. It is however a tragedy that is recurring and we have to as a community come to grips with it," he told reporters.

"Clearly there is a growth in numbers of sharks, clearly humankind is being exposed to those dangerous sharks more often and we have to respond in a manner that is befitting."

Dr Nahan said he wanted a report to examine whether the justification for putting sharks on the global protected species list was still valid in WA.

"My understanding is they have looked at it in South Africa and come to the conclusion that there is plentiful white pointers ... you might come to the same conclusion in Australia," he said.

Laeticia is the third person to be killed by a shark off WA in the past year and the fifteenth person since 2000.

- with AAP

The story No WA drumlines after fatal shark attack as sightings 'double' first appeared on WA Today.

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