The West

More air time for shark patrols (cloned for SW 1342571535)
More air time for shark patrols (cloned for SW 1342571535)

Metropolitan and South West beaches will have increased aerial shark patrols this summer, including an extra 31 extra days in Perth, after the unprecedented increase in fatal attacks.

The extra patrols come despite Surf Life Saving WA yesterday admitting spotters in helicopters hardly ever spied great white sharks, which made all five fatal attacks in the past 10 months.

Metropolitan patrols will start a month earlier in September at weekends before increasing to seven days a week from October until April 30 - a total of 221 days.

Last financial year's 190 patrol days included seven-day-a-week monitoring from October 24 until April 30.

Metropolitan patrols sweep from Dawesville to Yanchep and out to Rottnest for an average of three to four hours a day.

South West beaches from Bunbury to Margaret River were patrolled from November last year to January 31. This year they will be monitored at weekends from September and every day from November 18 until school holidays end in February and again at Easter.

SLSWA community safety manager Chris Peck said that of the 247 shark sightings off Perth and South West beaches last financial year, the vast majority were tiger sharks, bronze whalers and hammerheads.

"The ones we're worried about, the white sharks, we don't see them very often from the helicopter," he said.

"White sharks tend to be very elusive. It may be the timeframe that we're operating and perhaps if we operated in the middle of winter we'd see them more."

Department of Fisheries shark response unit spokesman Tony Cappeluti said authorities were trying to reduce shark attacks by making sightings public as soon as possible, including on Twitter and Facebook.

"Once upon a time when a report came in, we tried to confirm it," he said.

"What we don't want to create is public hysteria but we have taken the decision to get the information out quickly."

He said sightings should be referred to water police.

A 3m tiger shark was spotted twice yesterday morning at Ledge Point, south of Lancelin.

Fisheries shark monitoring data released yesterday showed nine of the 98 great whites tagged off South Australia and WA were detected off Perth beaches on 55 days between June 2009 and July 2012.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West