Nine shark sightings over three-day period

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development receives at least nine reports of shark sightings from Bunbury to Dalyellup in three day period.
Camera IconDepartment of Primary Industries and Regional Development receives at least nine reports of shark sightings from Bunbury to Dalyellup in three day period. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

The State Government’s Shark Response Unit says swimmers can continue to enjoy Bunbury’s beaches with confidence, despite a spate of recent shark sightings.

Between December 29 and 31, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development received at least nine reports of shark sightings from Bunbury to Dalyellup.

The reports came from both the public and the Surf Life Saving Westpac Helicopter.

One of those reports included an apparent sighting of six three-metre bronze whaler sharks just 10m off Bunbury Back Beach on New Year’s Eve.

The South Western Times witnessed a Bunbury city ranger warning beachgoers out of the water because of shark sightings on that day.

Bunbury City Council could not provide any more details about beach closures or sightings.

But Shark Response Unit spokesman Brett Hopley said the State Government’s new sea sense campaign could be playing a part in increased reports.

“One of the initiatives of this campaign is to inform the public about how they can help keep other beachgoers safe by reporting shark sightings immediately to Water Police,” Mr Hopley said.

“As more people become aware of how to report a shark to Water Police, it is reasonable to expect more reports will be called in.

“We’re pleased to see ocean users are engaging with this campaign and doing the right thing.”

While shark sightings may have increased, Mr Hopley said there was no evidence to suggest the risk of sharks had.

“The risk of a shark encounter in WA is very low,” he said.

“There are a range of other risks associated with ocean use including rips, reefs, waves, sandbars and swimmers misjudging sea and surf conditions. People can continue to enjoy the beach with confidence by bringing their sea sense to the beach this summer.”

“Before heading to the beach check the Sharksmart website for recent sightings or detections, when at the beach remember to swim between the flags and if you’re surfing or diving use a personal shark deterrent.”

A shark advice warning remained in place yesterday for Dalyellup Beach after the Department of Conservation and Attractions was called in to remove a dolphin carcass on December 29.

At least two reports of sharks were received at that beach.

The most recent report was made at the Australind boat ramp where it was reported on Saturday that a shark was seen 5m offshore.

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