Jon Ford

Jon Ford

Minister for Employment Protection; Regional Development; Fisheries; the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne

    Aerial shark patrols start this week

    11/10/2007 5:30 PM
     
    11/10/07

    The aerial shark surveillance patrols that monitor Perth’s beaches over spring and summer will take off again this Saturday, October 13.

    Fisheries Minister Jon Ford said the patrol service would begin with weekend flights only and would increase to daily monitoring of the metropolitan coast by early November.

    “Once the peak beach-going season arrives, the aerial patrols will fly for six hours each day and up to eight hours each day between Christmas and New Year,” Mr Ford said.

    “We have an eye in the sky, with aerial surveillance of the Perth coast and there is shore-based beach monitoring by Surf Lifesaving WA, however people who use the water in the warmer months should still exercise caution.

    “Obviously the flights have to cover quite a distance on some patrols; flying to just south of Mandurah, as far north as Two Rocks and on occasions, out to Rottnest Island, so we also have to depend on our highly valuable and dedicated surf lifesavers as well as vigilant members of the public to keep an eye out for sharks.”

    The Minister said that all shark sightings should be reported to the Water Police on 9442 8600.

    “The Water Police work together with Surf Lifesaving WA and local councils to help ensure public safety and trigger warnings for local authorities, who may find it necessary to close a beach temporarily if there is a threat to swimmers,” he said.

    “Water Police also co-ordinate with the Department of Fisheries and Department of Environment and Conservation to make patrol boats available to investigate sightings, where necessary.

    “The aerial patrols add to that overall response plan we have in place to deal with shark hazards along Perth’s beaches and flight crew will alert Water Police if there is a sighting.

    “Edith Cowan University won the tender to provide up to 625 hours of aerial patrol work between this Saturday October 13, 2007 and Monday March 3, 2008, and they will provide a dedicated observer aboard each flight.”

    Shark safety information is available on the Fisheries website at http://www.fish.wa.gov.au (from the home page menu go to the ‘Environment’ section and click on the shark image).

    Minister's office - 9213 7200