Shark sightings: Dept of Fisheries won’t speculate on species of sharks seen near Pt Walter Reserve boat ramp

THE Department of Fisheries has declined to speculate on the likely species of three sharks reported by a member of the public near the Point Walter Reserve boat ramp last Tuesday.

Surf Lifesaving WA tweeted that three 1.1m sharks of unknown species were reportedly spotted 20m offshore at 3.30pm that day.

Shark Response Unit manager Lisa Clark said the department had not been able to confirm the sightings.

“While the Department will verify sightings if there is a an indication of an unusual environmental condition or an increased risk, there was not a requirement to do so for this report,” she said.

“Water Police act as the first point of contact for initial reports of any shark sightings and incidents.

“All shark sightings are reported to the 24 hour, seven day a week co-ordination centre and are entered into a system, which distributes and posts the report details immediately.

“Our priority is making the information available to the public and beach safety agencies as soon as possible.”

Ms Clark said there was not enough information in the report to speculate on species but that bull sharks were known to live in WA estuaries and rivers, including the Swan.

She said there had already been 16 reported shark sightings in the Swan and Canning Rivers so far this year, up from seven in 2015, with most bull sharks or “unknown species.”

“The risk of a shark encounter is rare, but we ask water users, whether they are in the ocean or a river, to apply caution in what they are doing,” Ms Clarks said.

Tips on staying safe are available on the SharkSmart website at www.sharksmart.com.au/staying-safe.