Shark fishing ban extended after attack


Photo by Thomas Borb on Unsplash

A City of Fremantle shark fishing ban has been extended across all town beaches after fears the practice is attracting sharks close to shore.

The move comes just 6 months after a fatal shark attack off Port Beach, on November 21, and follows rules enforced by the neighbouring councils of Cockburn and Cottesloe.

Shore-based recreational fishers often use blood and bait to reel in bigger fish and sharks.

The WA government banned shark fishing at Port, Leighton beaches and South Cottesloe beaches earlier this year on February 13.

Now every beach within the city of Fremantle will be included in the ban and anyone caught using fishing devices aimed at sharks, such as blood, bait, spears and fishing lines, can be penalised with a $500 fine.

The ban extends to shark fishers within 80m off the shore, according to Fremantle deputy Mayor Frank Mofflin.

“Ideally is would be good to have a consistent approach, even just to cover the metropolitan areas in Perth,” Mr Mofflin said.

“The challenge in being a local government is our resources to enforce it are limited.”

A Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development spokesperson said recreational shore-based shark fishers often fish for sharks after sunset.

“Many shark species often feed more actively at night and will move closer to the shore after dark,” the spokesperson said.

The City of Fremantle will have to fund extra staff to patrol local fishing spots after their usual hours.

Jenny Archibald from the Fremantle Council approved the amendment.

“If it is in fact bringing in sharks, it’s not reasonable to keep doing it,” Ms Archibald said.

“The science says we need to go and test it, we won’t find out until we stop.”

Of 120 public submissions made to Fremantle Council, 85 supported the ban.

Recfish West stood apart from the majority as one of the 35 submission opposing the ban.

It did not respond to interview requests at the time of publication.