The West

Great white lurked off Perth  beaches for a week
Coastal cruise: A great white lurked off Perth beaches for a week. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

A 5m great white shark spent nearly a week cruising up and down Perth's beaches, setting off satellite receivers at Cottesloe, City Beach, Scarborough and Ocean Reef, new tracking data has revealed.

Another similar-sized shark spent up to eight weeks off the South-West coast, according to shark behaviour research released on the State Government's Sharksmart website.

The tracking data from five tagged great whites represents a fraction of the research collected by the Department of Fisheries since the State's shark monitoring network was established in 2009.


Tracking information from another 22 tagged sharks is being finalised and will appear on the website, which was launched last week.

It comes as the fisherman in charge of monitoring drum lines in the South-West caught and killed another shark off Meelup beach and a tiger shark was caught and released near Floreat.

Separately an activist protesting against the Government's shark kill policy had his boat impounded.

The research includes the movements of a 5m female, known as WA013, which became the first shark to test the Government's fully automated satellite-linked detection alert system in July 2012.

"WA013 was detected almost continuously throughout the metropolitan receiver network and the Department of Fisheries Cockburn Sound acoustic receiver arrays between July 2 and 8, 2012," the website said.

"During that week she generated further detection alerts at satellite receivers stationed 3.5km off Trigg and at Scarborough, Floreat, City Beach and Leighton."

Another 5m shark, a male known as SA093, was thought to have spent seven to eight weeks around south-western WA in late 2012.

The department's principal research scientist Rory McAuley said tagged shark data was still being collected.

CSIRO marine biologist Russell Bradford said the more that was known about the movements of great whites, the better the risk could be managed.

"Of note is that these tracks and others show that white sharks travel widely and generally do not stay in one area for extended periods," he said.

"On occasion, their movement may be quick, at others they seem to amble."

Shark expert and author Hugh Edwards, who opposes the cull, said the data highlighted the importance of researching shark behaviour.

"What it shows is there's probably a lot more sharks than we think there are and that mostly they behave themselves and that the risks of attacks are very slight," he said.

The West Australian

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