Sharks to be released further out
Protests: Anti-cull protesters at Meelup beach in Dunsborough. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Undersize and non-target sharks caught under the State Government's shark policy will be taken further out to sea to be released alive "where practicable".

As the policy of setting drum lines off Perth to catch big tiger, bull and great white sharks entered its third day, the Government clarified what protocols governed the release of live sharks.

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There was confusion on Friday, when Surf Life Saving WA was forced to warn beachgoers at Cottesloe about a 2.6m tiger shark that had been released just a kilometre offshore. The shark was one of the first caught on drum lines set off Perth by the Department of Fisheries but was under the 3m size limit imposed by the Government to define sharks that need to be killed.

On Saturday, a 2.3m tiger shark was caught and freed off Scarborough beach, while another pulled dead from the water at Leighton beach was taken 12km offshore and dumped. A spokeswoman for Premier Colin Barnett said sharks found alive that were too small or of a non-target species would be released further offshore, where possible.

However, the spokeswoman said there were limitations on the practice, including consideration of the shark's ability to survive while being transported.

"The Department of Fisheries has advised that where practicable, it will release any non-targeted species that is still alive further out to sea, having due regard to not compromising the survival of the shark," she said.

Since the policy came into effect in Perth on Friday, four sharks - all believed to be tiger sharks - have been captured.

Yesterday appeared to be the first day no sharks were caught, with the Fisheries patrol boat Hamelin finding none hooked.

Despite this, the Hamelin was twice forced to respond quickly to reports of a big shark swimming close to beaches.

About 8.30am, the vessel set five extra lines off Port beach after a helicopter patrol spotted a 4m shark of an "unknown species" just 100m from the shore.

A short time later, the Hamelin rushed to South Beach after similar reports, but did not set extra drum lines.

The West Australian

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