Shark fishers catch a paddler near swimmers in North Fremantle

Shark fishers at Port Beach
Shark fishers at Port Beach

A STAND-UP paddle boarder was caught up in a shark fisherman’s line at Port Beach, North Fremantle last week.

A rise in beach shark fishing, including photo trophies, has prompted fears of bringing sharks close to swimmers and Cottesloe Council now wants public comment on proposed banning of the wire trace tackle used in the fishing.

One of the Port Beach fishers said they were fishing for mackerel, sharks and rays “and whatever comes along” from the beach carpark’s new rockwall about 6.30pm last Thursday.

Families and swimmers were about 30m to the south and 70m north of the men, who had heavy game rods, lines far out and a kayak for dropping big baits offshore, but there were no signs of a burley trail or catches.

The stand-up paddle boarder was caught by one of the lines, but not its hook, and lifted it above his head as he waved back to the shore about 50m away,

While beach shark fishing is not banned in WA, other than size and species limits, Cottesloe and Cockburn councils both have local laws banning the practice.

A Fremantle Council spokesman said a shark fishing ban may be considered, after talks with the Department of Fisheries and residents, if it became “an issue of concern”.Asked if Port Beach shark fishing was inappropriate, department metropolitan regional manager Tony Cappelluti said fishers should act responsibly, the area was monitored as part of overall patrols, fishers must be humane to sharks and remove rubbish and fish waste.

Fishing lobby Recfishwest backs fishing for sharks to eat, and tells fishers to stay away from swimming beaches.

A spokeswoman said some community values clashing with some types of fishing was recognised, but it supported measures to resolve the conflicts when the activity’s impacts were “real and valid and truly represent broader community opinion”.