SharkSmart message needs some promotion

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The Shark Smart message needs some promotion so that people realise all shark sighting information in WA reported to Water Police is released to the public on the Shark Smart website and the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed.

WHEN Steve Oakes and a mate encountered a white shark north of Two Rocks on Saturday, October 13 the message that was relayed to authorities said the incident happened at Centaur Reef, two miles north west of Trigg Island.

After Surf Life Saving WA tweeted the information on Leigh Sprlyan said a post on the Impact Zone Spearfishing Facebook page by Mr Oakes said the incident had happened off Two Rocks not off Trigg Island.

“It’s misleading to the general public and other divers to suggest it happened off Trigg,’’ @sprlyan said.

The next day Mary-Anne Neill from Dorsal administration tweeted she had contacted the guys and posted their account, which clarified it was off Two Rocks and not Trigg island, on to the Dorsal Facebook page.

On Friday, October 19 Yanchep News Online contacted the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), which is made up the former departments of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food and Regional Development as there had been no update on the situation.

A DPIRD spokesman said they had tried to verify the original report but had been unsuccessful.

On Sunday, October 21 Mr Oakes told Yanchep News Online that friends from the WA Undersea Club made a call to have the information corrected.

Mr Oakes said Dorsal also contacted him about the exact location.

“I was contacted by multiple people but Dorsal is the company that produces the shark reports, the marine Water Police just submit it to them,’’ he said.

“So I figured once Dorsal had corrected it and the news publicly announced a change of location it had been cleared up.’’

But in Western Australia all shark sighting information reported to Water Police is provided to response agencies and to the public on the state government-owned SharkSmart website and the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed.

Dorsal is a free community-based shark alert solution available in Australia, the USA and Hawaii.

The Dorsal website says it uses reports from official channels, the public, Dorsal aerial surveillance partners and more than 100 media outlets.

“All reports that come through are independently verified and then posted to our Android and iPhone apps, this website and our social media pages,’’ the website says.

Dorsal seems to fill a gap for people on social media who do not follow Twitter.

Mr Oakes said during the incident he was swiped by a 5m fully grown female white shark, which circled him three times.

It then circled his diving buddy Matthias Grundl before leaving.

In Western Australia all shark sightings should be reported to Water Police on 9442 8600 (Call 000 for life threatening emergencies or for marine emergencies call 131 444.).

Visit the SharkSmart website at http://www.sharksmart.com.au/about/ or follow @SLSWA on Twitter.