Shark cage diving to be banned in Western Australia

Western Australia may be popular for diving with the whale sharks, however great white shark cage diving is unlikely to become an option in WA waters, according to Fisheries minister Norman Moore.

Regulations to ban targeted or dedicated shark tourism in the state are currently being drafted and will include cage diving operations that are feared would lure more sharks to the area.

Unlike popular shark dive spots like South Australia and South Africa, Mr Moore said “I have decided that Western Australia will not be the place for shark cage tourism.”

Aware that such activities could generate tourist dollars, the minister was more concerned that activities attracting sharks to feeding opportunities have the potential to change the behaviour patterns of those sharks.

WA also lacks specific sites where great white sharks were known to group together, unlike other popular diving spots like SA and South Africa that are well known for areas where the sharks congregate.

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“Lack of such sites in WA may result in operators wanting to maximise chumming and baiting to attract sharks to meet tourist expectations, which may have unwanted consequences,” the minister said.

After four fatalities in the state linked to sharks in under a year, the Government is not willing to agree to tourist activities that will raise even greater public fears than already exist.

The increase of shark activity as well as shark attacks in False Bay is of huge concern to ocean users in South Africa. While  no direct link has been established between shark cage diving and shark attacks in False Bay, authorities in South Africa should take note of the decision made by the Australians.

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