Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Statement on Shark Attacks in Western Australia

Statement
16 July 2012

The recent tragedies in Western Australian waters are an awful loss. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those people who have been attacked.

I understand the Western Australian Fisheries Minister Norman Moore has written to me with specific proposals.

While I am yet to receive this letter, I am happy to work with the Western Australian Government on whatever they may propose.

If there are actions the Western Australian Government currently wants to take to ensure human safety, national law includes provisions for that to happen.

Right now my office is ensuring that the Western Australian Government will be given assistance as it works to manage this.

I agree with comments made in the media by the Western Australian Government that we need the latest information on shark numbers.

There is a view among some that shark numbers have increased and I know both governments will work together to get as clear a picture as possible about whether the great white shark population is recovering.

My department is finalising an updated recovery plan for great white sharks.

A key part of the plan is research to improve our understanding of the species.

The Great White Shark was first listed under national environmental law in 1999 by the then Environment Minister Robert Hill.

Great White Sharks were first listed as 'protected' in Western Australia under the Western Australian Fisheries Resources Management Act in 1997, and then listed as 'rare or likely to become extinct' under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act in 1999.