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Penalty warning for shark tour plan
The West Australian Golden Sun Cruises owner Bill Edgar. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

A charter boat businessman who wants to take tourists shark-watching off Perth's coast has been warned he faces a $10,000 fine if he does so.

Golden Sun Cruises boss Bill Edgar, who told The West Australian last month he had been overwhelmed by the level of interest and had not ruled out using baits to lure sharks to his boat, said he was disappointed and had lost money because of the decision.

The Department of Fisheries said such shark tourism required the use of baits or burley, which was not allowed in WA.

Department manager for strategic fisheries policy Nathan Harrison said the chances of seeing sharks on a boat tour without baits or chumming - which involves putting fish parts and blood in the water - were remote.

It was illegal to do so under legislation put in place 18 months ago. "It's a significant public safety issue if you're trying to burley up sharks around potentially swimming bridges or offshore . . . where there may be people diving," Mr Harrison said.

"There's a big difference between just conducting a diving tour or a glass-bottom boat tour and saying 'I'm doing shark tours'. If you are doing shark tours then you want . . . people to see sharks."