CSIRO has confirmed that WA is Australia’s great white shark hot spot Photo: ShutterstockA study suggests there may be twice the number of adult great white sharks off WA’s coast.
Preliminary results from the CSIRO have found white shark numbers in WA are not increasing but are steady and remain somewhere between 750 to 2,250, with a 90 per centmake these bold statements that tougher measures need to be taken, without outlining the details of any plan and how it would make people any safer.”
Opposition tourism spokesperson and Liberal member for Vasse Libby Mettam has slammed the McGowan Government’s approach to the issue.
“The complete absence of a strategy to manage shark numbers means we can expect them to grow exponentially,” Ms Mettam said.
“This debate has to be taken from the ‘sharks over people brigade’ that is currently holding the McGowan Government hostage and given its rightful priority as a serious public safety issue.”
Mr Kelly said Ms Mettam’s comments were “ridiculous”.
Ms Mettam said the subsidy program was a tokenistic approach to shark attacks and suggested that concerns about shark safety could take a bite out of the tourism industry.
“As the Margaret River region opens its doors to a swelling population of tourists, the Fisheries Minister should refrain from patting himself on the back and look at what more he can do to address the public safety of the hundreds of thousands of people taking to beaches around the state this summer,” she said.
Ms Mettam said it was the previous Liberal Government that had invested in science to better understand shark populations, while the current government had provided only a limited subsidy which only benefited scuba divers.
“I remain convinced that providing $200 towards a $750 commercial product for 2,000 scuba divers is not an appropriate government response to what is a major public safety issue,” she said.
WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said Ms Mettam’s concern for WA’s tourism had no basis.
“The amount of sharks has had no impact on tourism in WA,” he said.
“What has had an impact on tourism is the appalling tourism strategy that was implemented by the last government.
“If she focused on things that actually have an impact on tourism she actually might be conceding their failure and supporting the government responding much more appropriately and aggressively towards improving tourism in WA.”