Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Shark patrol flights increased over Rottnest Island

    16/12/2005 12:00 AM

    Aerial shark patrols will increase over Rottnest this week to monitor a potential increase in shark activity near a whale which has washed up in Strickland Bay, Acting Fisheries Minister Kim Chance announced today.

    Mr Chance said there would now be at least four flights a day because the decaying 20m blue whale carcass could attract more sharks to the area.

    “There are increased risks and the general public needs to be aware of the hazards such a large whale carcass will represent off the Rottnest Island coast,” he said.

    “The carcass, estimated at between 60 and 80 tonnes, washed up on the southern Rottnest coast overnight.

    “As a result, beaches in Strickland Bay were closed this morning and surfers were called from the water as a precaution.

    “The Department of Fisheries has arranged to increase shark patrol flights over Rottnest for the next week and will continually assess the situation.”

    Mr Chance said there were normally two flights by the metropolitan shark patrol over the Island each morning, however, from tomorrow there would be an additional earlier flight.

    “Combined with a daily flight, arranged by the Rottnest Island Authority, there will now be four flights each morning to monitor any increased shark activity in the area,” he said.

    "The summer shark patrol flights carry an independent observer and the aircraft maintains constant VHF radio contact with the Water Police.

    "These patrols also fly between Mandurah and Two Rocks, spending up to eight hours a day in the air during peak times such as weekends and holiday periods.”

    Mr Chance also reminded swimmers to take commonsense precautions when swimming on any Western Australian beach this summer:
    • swim between the flags at patrolled beaches where possible;
    • avoid the water around dusk and dawn when sharks could be feeding;
    • do not swim among large schools of fish or near seals; and
    • avoid areas where animal, human or fish waste enter the water.
    “Western Australian beach-goers can be assured that their safety is the Government’s highest priority,” Mr Chance said.

    Minister's office: 9213 7200