Shark patrols to Yanchep and other beaches extended

A bumper salmon run and the biggest mass whale stranding in 10 years is believed to be contributing to higher sightings of big marine animals, including white sharks.

SHARK patrols in the metropolitan area, including Yanchep Lagoon, have been extended until May 27.

On Sunday, April 29 Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly said for the first time daily aerial patrols of south-west and metropolitan beaches would extend beyond April.

Mr Kelly said Surf Life Saving Western Australia (SLSWA) had been provided with about an extra $350,000 to continue daily aerial patrols.

Patrols started on September 2, last year three weeks earlier than the year before and had been due to conclude on Monday, April 30.

Mr Kelly said due to higher levels of marine animal activity, including sharks, daily patrols would continue to cover the same areas for an additional month.

He said there were a number of environmental factors in the marine environment that could potentially create higher levels of shark activity along the WA coast over the late summer and autumn period, including mass whale strandings and the salmon run.

On March 23, 105 long-finned pilot whales stranded at Hamelin Bay – the biggest stranding in nearly 10 years.

In the following weeks a another 25 whales washed ashore along the south-west coast.

The high number of injured whales or carcasses, on or close to shore, could be providing an opportunistic food source, or acting as an attractant for a range of large animals, including white sharks.

The annual salmon run is known to attract large marine animals during this period and a reminder about this was issued in March, as the first signs of the salmon run were being noted.

Water users are urged to check SharkSmart’s shark activity map or Surf Life Saving WA’s Twitter before going into the water.

Report any shark sightings to Water Police on 9442 8600.