Jon Ford

Jon Ford

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

    Aerial shark patrols take to the skies over summer

    1/09/2005 12:00 AM

    Fisheries Minister Jon Ford has ruled out using remote cameras and anti-shark devices on Perth’s beaches unless the technology can be shown to work.

    Mr Ford said the State Government would continue to fund daily aerial patrols from October 15 until March 6 next year, to ease public fears about shark attacks.

    “The patrols will fly between Mandurah and Two Rocks, spending up to eight hours a day in the air during peak times such as weekends and the Christmas period,” he said.

    “The flights will carry an independent observer who will spend more than 500 hours flying over the coast this summer. The aircraft will maintain constant VHF radio contact with water police.

    “A typical flight will span the metropolitan coastline, concentrating on the busiest and most populated beaches between Fremantle and Mindarie.”

    A research program to collate and assess all data collected would cost $16,500, bringing the total budget for the program to $172,000.

    The Minister said the advice he had received indicated that other options such as remote cameras and anti-shark devices were impractical at this point in time.

    He said Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) patrols would continue to play a vital public safety role, watching over popular metropolitan and regional beaches.

    Further information about beach locations of SLSWA services could be found at

    “SLSWA is interested in running its own aerial patrols and this is something the Government has been asked to consider for the future,” Mr Ford said.

    The Minister also reminded swimmers to take commonsense precautions, such as:
    • swimming between the flags at patrolled beaches where possible;
    • avoiding the water around dusk and dawn when sharks could be feeding;
    • not swimming among large schools of fish or near seals; and
    • avoiding areas where animal, human or fish waste enter the water.
    Further information on sharks could be found on the Fisheries Department website:

    All shark sightings should be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600.

    Minister's Office - 9425 4200