Soon, the use of shark fishing gear will be banned from all Perth beaches. The move by the Western Australia government is a response to concerns about public safety in the wake of several deadly shark attacks in the region. However, as ABC reports, some recreational fishers have decried the ban as going too far.
Starting November 3, the Western Australia government will implement a ban on the use of wire trace within 800 meters of shores for all Perth metropolitan beaches. This will affect roughly 150 kilometers of coast, from south of Mandurah to just north of the Two Rocks Marina. Violating the ban will land a fine of $50 to $400, with repeat offenders having to pay up to $5,000.
“Essentially it is to stop the dangerous practice of people bringing sharks into the beach environment where they do pose a threat to people who might be swimming or enjoying the beach,” WA Fisheries Minister Don Punch told ABC Radio Perth. In an official statement, Punch added, “Fishing for large sharks from metropolitan swimming beaches is simply incompatible with community values and community safety.”
The decision comes as a result of two fatal shark attacks in Perth’s south in the past three years. In 2021, Paul Millachip died when he was bitten while swimming at Fremantle’s Port Beach. Then in February 2023, 16-year-old Stella Berry was killed by a shark while swimming in the Swan River in North Fremantle.
However, some recreational fishers expressed their disapproval. While he agreed that there needed to be restrictions on fishing for shark in metropolitan areas, Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland told ABC that, “The minister’s decision will impact on fishers who choose to use small wire traces to fish for species like tailor and mackerel from the shore or from a boat closer in.”
“I recognize a small number of recreational fishers prefer to use wire trace for beach fishing for species such as Tailor,” said Punch in the official statement. “I am satisfied with the availability of alternatives so I would encourage anyone affected to visit their local tackle store to chat about the variety of substitutes on offer.”