Tiger sharks top drum-line catch
A tiger shark caught in one of the drum lines. Picture: Sea Shepherd

"Unprecedented" numbers of tiger sharks off Perth and the South West have been reflected in figures showing the species accounted for almost all the sharks caught so far under WA's drum-line policy.

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston released data from the first three weeks of the policy's operation yesterday, revealing that 63 of the 66 sharks captured were tiger sharks.

The 67th shark - an undersized tiger shark that was released - was pulled from the water by the Department of Fisheries off Floreat yesterday.

The figures came as the mother of Kyle Burden, who was killed by a great white shark while surfing at Bunker Bay in 2011, gave an emotional speech in which she called for the policy to be dropped.

Sharon Burden, speaking at an anti-shark-kill rally on the steps of State Parliament, said her son was a conservationist at heart and would not have agreed with the policy.

Ms Burden recalled a trip she had taken with Kyle to Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park in Tasmania, contrasting the efforts to protect that area with the State Government's decision to kill big sharks.

"When this policy was announced, my immediate and continuing response was that this is a mediocre and fundamentally flawed strategy in both concept and execution," Ms Burden said. Mr Baston had earlier issued figures showing that up until Sunday, 17 of the 66 sharks caught were tiger sharks bigger than 3m, which were all killed.

Of the 49 captured sharks that were undersized, two were mako and one was a black tipped shark, while nine - all believed to be tiger sharks - were found dead.

Despite no great white sharks being captured and nine undersized sharks inadvertently killed, Mr Baston insisted the policy was working.

An experienced South West shark fisherman, who asked not to be named, said the figures showing a high catch-rate for tiger sharks was unsurprising given the species' increasing prevalence in southern waters.

He said there had been "unprecedented" numbers of tiger sharks off the South West and they were destroying fishing nets.

'My immediate and continuing response was that this is a mediocre and flawed strategy.'"Shark victim Kyle Burden's mum *Sharon Burden *

The West Australian

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