Please visit my office and sign my petition urging the WA State Government to take more rigorous and proactive measures to protect WA citizens against shark attacks.

I RECENTLY called on State Minister for Fisheries the Hon. Dave Kelly MLA to implement a system of SMART non-lethal drumlines to protect all ocean users from shark attacks in WA.  I have put the case to Minister Kelly that Esperance be included in these measures after a spate of shark attacks and a tragic loss of life along the South Coast.

In February 2015, Sean Pollard lost his left arm and his right hand to a shark at Kelp Beds, near Esperance, while in April 2017, 17-year-old Laeticia Brouwer, died after being attacked by a shark at the same location.

I have felt the frustration of communities fed up with the reality of shark attacks and the alarming increase of shark sightings in and around their waters. Esperance is a beautiful coastal town, rich in tourism and these frequent shark sightings are not only having a detrimental effect on people’s recreational pursuits, they are potentially reducing tourist numbers impacting on people’s businesses and their livelihoods. Annually, there are more than 230,000 visitors to Esperance. This is in-line with the number of visitors to Margaret River and more than those visiting Broome. To protect this vital aspect of the Esperance economy more has to be done by the WA State Labor Government.

In August last year, I participated in the Esperance Ocean Safety Forum, organised by local surfer Mitch Capelli. Mitch told me that the main topic on the agenda was the “countdown to October” – an especially dangerous month to be in Esperance waters due to frequent shark attacks over the past few years. The consensus was clear, everyone was concerned about what was happening in Esperance and recognised that while they can implement things on a local level they also need help. A number of local initiatives have been pursued and the Esperance Ocean Safety Group has been working hard to implement various shark mitigation strategies in collaboration with the community. I have been working with Federal Minister for the Environment the Hon Josh Frydenberg on further strategies as well as lobbying the state government for better protection of Esperance beaches and the Great Southern coastline.

In May this year, I wrote to The Hon. Dave Kelly MLA WA Minister for Fisheries, to inform him that the Esperance community was becoming increasingly frustrated by the state government’s inaction and wanted to know why not enough was being done to protect them and their visitors from future shark attacks.

I also asked Mr Kelly to work with the Government of New South Wales and take up its generous offer to utilise its SMART drumlines, as evidence shows this technology offers protection to ocean users without harming marine life. On average, 10 SMART drumlines could cover 15km of coast at a cost of between $290,000 - $400,000. As part of the NSW SharkSmart campaign, a SharkSmart mobile app was developed and released. The app provides information and resources to help reduce the risk of shark encounters.

PLEASE NOTE: SMART drumlines have not been designed to kill sharks. Their aim is to protect human life and along with the SharkSmart app would be a game changer for the Esperance community.

Mr Kelly has repeatedly refused to support the Esperance community to provide the safest ocean environment possible.  Please visit my office to sign my petition urging the state government to implement SMART drumlines along with the SharkSmart mobile app and make YOUR beaches safe again. 


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