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Beach-goers urged to be ‘shark smart’ this Easter during annual salmon run

A shark swimming with Salmon at Bunker Bay. Photo: Chris White.

The State Government is urging ocean users to be safe and shark smart over the Easter school holidays as the annual Autumn salmon run commences along the south and west coasts.

Thousands of adult Western Australian salmon aggregate to spawn during their westward migration before the Leeuwin Current disperses their eggs and larvae to protected coastal nurseries.

Salmon form large schools along surf beaches and inshore reef systems, making them ideal targets for holidaying families and fishers who want to hook a catch.

Although the large schools of salmon are great for fishers, the run usually attracts sharks close to shore.

Fisheries Minister Don Punch said he urges water users and families to switch on their sea sense over the Easter break.

“It is important that all Western Australians check for shark activity before heading into the water and follow common sense shark safety tips to reduce the risk of a shark encounter,” Mr Punch said.

“I urge everyone planning to fish during the annual salmon run, head out spearfishing or make a splash at the beach over Easter to switch on their Sea Sense and download the free SharkSmart WA app before heading out into the ocean.”

The State Government advises swimmers, divers and other ocean users to stay away from large salmon schools and other fish, seals or other wildlife acting erratically; and to carry out ocean activities with a friend if possible.

Common sense tips to reduce the risk of a shark encounter include:

  • checking the SharkSmart WA app or website for reported sightings and tagged shark detections before heading into the water;
  • remaining alert to any Surf Life Saving WA helicopters and leaving the water immediately if a siren is sounded;
  • swimming between the flags or close to shore at unpatrolled beaches;
  • following any beach closure instructions and taking note of any warning signs or Beach Emergency Number (BEN) signage in place;
  • reporting any shark sightings to the Water Police on 9442 8600 as quickly as possible;
  • surfers or divers can also protect themselves with a personal shark deterrent (State Government rebates are available);
  • salmon fishers are encouraged to fish from one of the many pristine beaches along our State’s southern and south-western coastline to avoid the dangers of rock fishing;
  • recreational fishers should also ‘bleed’ their catch away from the water’s edge and dispose of all fish waste responsibly, to help keep beach areas clean and avoid attracting larger marine predators; and
  • if spearfishing, be sure to remove all speared fish from the water quickly and do not carry dead or bleeding fish attached to you.

For further information on how to stay safe in the water, visit https://www.sharksmart.com.au

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