Thrashing out release policy

‘I was under the impression if they had a bigger shark then it would have been taken further out. After all, a 2.91m tiger shark is no less dangerous than a 3m one,’ North Cottesloe Surf Life Saving president Chris Shellabear said.

Mr Shellabear said the club supported State Government and Surf Life Saving WA action to keep beaches safe but club officials had to be told about releasing large sharks near their beaches so action could be taken during the cull’s trial.

The 2.9m fish was caught at Cottesloe Beach and released untagged near North Cottesloe Beach, 700m north.

Swimmers on the beach claimed the Department of Fisheries boat came close to shore and the shark thrashed around while aboard.

During captures, water is hosed into the sharks’ gills and releases depend on their condition, if they are lip or jaw-hooked, their violence on deck and if the boat can be anchored for tagging.

‘Fisheries advise 2.91m tiger shark caught at Cottesloe, released 1km offshore North Cottesloe,’ Surf Life Saving WA tweeted.

However, six days earlier there was a specific warning to swimmers after a 2.6m tiger shark was released 1km off Cottesloe beach when the Government installed 72 drum-line hooks off several metropolitan beaches to kill sharks longer then 3m.

Asked why there was no swimmers’ warning about the 2.9m shark, a SLSWA spokesman said it only tweeted Fisheries information.

A Department of Premier and Cabinet spokesman said the information was published as soon as possible, after the 2.9m shark’s size and onboard movements caused its handling time to be ‘extended’.

‘Onshore wind conditions did mean our vessel came closer to within 830m offshore, but the vessel did motor out to release the shark,’ he said.

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said the DPC would consult with Fisheries about catch data before it was made public ‘as soon as possible’.