The Department of Fisheries has released footage of the biggest shark it has ever electronically tagged – a 4m-long white pointer.
The mature male shark, caught off Albany’s Cheynes Beach on August 27, can be seen hooked by Fisheries officers before being flipped upside down to induce a docile state known as ‘tonic immobility’.
Acoustic receivers were internally surgically implanted in the shark’s stomach before it was sewn up and released.
The shark is thought to be the largest white shark to be internally fitted with an acoustic transmitter tag in Australian waters.
WA’s shark monitoring network has about 320 receivers on the seabed and 20 satellite receivers to monitor tagged sharks.
There are 136 white sharks, 171 whaler sharks and 19 tiger sharks electronically tagged to set off network receivers when they swim within 400 to 500 metres of the satellite-linked acoustic receivers.
Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell said that after improvements to the notification system, alerts could now be delivered to safety agencies within than two minutes, as well as to the Surf Life Saving WA Twitter feed and website.
“These upgrades mean this summer, response agencies will have even more time to close a beach and alert water users of potential shark hazards, with alerts from receivers being sent faster,” he said.
Fisheries Department principal research scientist Rory McAuley said acoustic tags provided important knowledge about sharks.
"The battery life of internal acoustic tags is up to 10 years so the scientific data that may be collected from this shark is unprecedented," he said.The state government is also planning a dedicated website for shark information and alerts this summer.