Fisheries Research Articles

SMART drumlines ineffective in catching White Sharks in the high energy Capes Region of Western Australia: acoustic detections confirm that sharks are not always amenable to capture

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bather protection; shark attack; human–wildlife conflict; power analysis


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Marine Biology


The management of human-shark interactions can benefit from the implementation of effective shark hazard mitigation measures. A Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time (SMART) drumline trial in the Capes region of Western Australia was instigated after several serious incidents involving surfers and white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). The project aimed to determine whether white sharks (target species), which were relocated after capture, remained offshore using satellite and acoustic tagging. Over a 27-month period, 352 fish were caught, 55% of which comprised tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier). Ninety-one percent of animals were released alive in good condition. Only two white sharks were caught; both were relocated ≥ 1 km offshore before release and moved immediately further offshore after capture, remaining predominately in offshore waters for the duration of their 54-day and 186-day tag deployments. Our results confirm that desirable animal welfare outcomes can be achieved using SMART drumlines when response times are minimised. The low target catches and the detection of 24 other tagged white sharks within the study area supported the decision to cease the trial. Our results reiterate there is no simple remedy for dealing with the complexities of shark hazards and reinforce the importance of trialing mitigation measures under local conditions.



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