Swimmers warned as tagged great white shark stalking Meelup beach returns

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Peta RasdienThe West Australian
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VideoTagged great white spotted in Meelup four times in 12 hours.

The same tagged great white shark stalking tourist hotspot Meelup beach for just over a week returned again last night — setting off receivers four times in less than an hour.

Surf Life Saving WA issued alerts for the shark at 9:54pm, 10:22pm, 10:27pm and 10:33pm on Sunday night, however the popular South West beach remains open.

The predator was detected several times by the Meelup receiver between January 13 and 16, prompting SharkSmart to issue a warning to swimmers which is still current.

Peter Godfrey, shark operations manager for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, said all detections at Meelup since the alert was issued on January 16, bar one, had been for the same shark.

“We had one detection at Meelup on 21 January of a different white shark, but all the other detections at Meelup, since 16 January, have otherwise been the same shark, which is why the alert for the area remains current,” Mr Godfrey said.

“We have also had reports of large schools of baitfish in the area for some weeks now.”

Meanwhile, a 4m white shark has been sighted by a paraglider at the Abbey boat ramp at 9:20am this morning.

Swimmers have been warned there is an increased likelihood of an encounter with a shark at Meelup beach as shark detections increase.
Camera IconSwimmers have been warned there is an increased likelihood of an encounter with a shark at Meelup beach as shark detections increase. Credit: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Meelup beach was closed twice on January 15, moments after sightings of a 2 metre shark 20 metres off shore and a four-metre shark, which was spotted 100 metres from the beach by the Westpac chopper, which was patrolling the area.

Swimmers have been warned the high number of detections and sightings increase the likelihood of encountering a shark at Meelup.

People have been advised to stay informed about shark activity on the SharkSmart website, SharkSmart app or Surf Life Saving WA’s Twitter feed.

Fisheries officers, local government rangers and Surf Life Saving WA are monitoring the situation.

It comes after swimmer Cameron Wrathall was attacked by a bull shark in the Swan River just metres from shore on January 14. It was the first Swan River shark attack for 50 years.

The 54-year-old needed emergency surgery for a 30cm bite across his upper thigh after he was bitten during a swim at Blackwall Reach.

There have been a flood of sightings of bull sharks in the river in the days since the attack, including a two-metre bull shark spotted near Canning Bridge heading on Saturday.

Shark alerts are in place for Boullanger Island, near Jurien after an increased number of shark detections and Taylor Boat Harbour near Esperance after a whale carcass was reported.

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