Esperance locals concerned for sharks

Closed: Wylie Beach was closed following the attack on October 2.
Closed: Wylie Beach was closed following the attack on October 2.

ESPERANCE locals are concerned for the welfare of sharks, following the killing of two after the attack on 23-year-old Bunbury man Sean Pollard on October 2.

There have been no new sightings since the sharks were caught two days after the attack with one shark measuring 3.46 metres and the other 2.68m.

The Department of Fisheries confirmed the sharks were caught on capture gear and transported to Perth for examination, where experts were unable to confirm whether either shark was involved.

But a department spokesperson confirmed Esperance was never part of the area covered by the state government's drum line program put in place last summer which saw drum lines set at patrolled beaches in the Perth metropolitan area and at several beaches at the south west.

"Following the recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority report into that drum line program released in September, the premier announced that the state government would no longer pursue its drum line policy as part of the $22 million shark hazard mitigation policy," they said.

"However, he reiterated the government's intention to maintain the imminent threat policy, which is in response to sharks deemed to be posing a threat to water users."

Under this policy, the department makes an assessment as to whether to place temporary drum lines to catch and destroy a shark in the case where an imminent threat is determined.

The spokesperson said after the incident at Esperance last week, the imminent threat policy was set in place and fisheries officers set baited hooks to catch the sharks.

"If fisheries officers deem there is an imminent threat posed by a shark in the Esperance region in the future, we would expect the policy to be enacted again," they said.

A review of the drumline program completed earlier this year stated Western Australia had experienced the third highest occurrence of fatal shark attacks in Australia over the past 100 years.

It said of significance was that in the past 10 years, Western Australia has experienced 10 fatal attacks, the highest number in Australia.

Do you think the drum lines should be kept in Esperance to prevent future attacks on surfers? Do you think there should be a complete ban on the catching and killing of sharks? Let us know. Send your thoughts to molly.baxter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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