WA's commercial fishing lobby has raised concerns about the State Government's new shark policy, saying it will kill important target species relied on by some operators.
Tenders for government contracts to deploy and maintain drum lines off Perth and South West beaches close today amid uncertainty about the level of interest from commercial fishers.
The WA Fishing Industry Council, which represents the State's commercial fishing fleet, said regardless of the interest, some of its members were worried about the plan.
Under the Government policy, drum lines - floating baited hooks anchored to the ocean floor - are to be set in special zones off Perth and South West coastline, about 1km from the shore.
They will be installed in September and removed in April each year.
WAFIC chief executive John Harrison said yesterday that while the drum lines were aimed at killing great white, tiger and bull sharks, they would also take species fished commercially.
He said these included bronze whalers and noted that sharks over 3m - which were protected for breeding - were the most likely to be caught.
Along with bronze whalers, species including gummy, dusky whaler, whiskery, sandbar and wobbegong sharks are sold to local fish and chip shops.
"There are going to be 36 drum lines deployed in the area, so that's 36 hooks sitting there with sizeable pieces of bait on them," Mr Harrison said.
A Government spokesman acknowledged that there would be by-catch under the policy but said the hooks that would be attached to the drum lines would ensure they could not be swallowed by smaller sharks targeted by commercial fishermen.
"The Government is aware that there is a risk of by-catch but the aim is to use large hooks targeting big tigers and whites that pose a risk to humans," he said.
"The commercial shark fishers are not expected to be unduly impacted as they are chasing small sharks like gummy sharks and have been banned from the west coast zone (off Perth) for a number of years."
Mr Harrison said WAFIC had yet to be properly briefed on the policy.