Shark fishing ban adopted

SHARK fishers will now face $500 fines if they throw a line off a Fremantle beach, with the council enacting an official ban.

The amended local law sailed through Wednesday’s council meeting unanimously, but without the support of the state’s peak recreational fishing body Recfishwest.

The ban means fishers can’t fish for sharks with any line that has a metal wire or chain within a metre of the hook, nor can they try to lure the predators with berley.

Although the council’s jurisdiction ends at the waterline, spear fishing is also banned, as are Hawaiian slings or other similar devices.

A report noted the council had been receiving more calls about fishers using blood and burley at popular swimming beaches following a fatal shark attack in November last year.

“It is believed that shark fishing from the shore, where the fishing is undertaken in a way that encourages sharks to hunt in these areas may be dangerous to regular swimming activities in these locations,” the report said.

The council’s move has the blessing of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development which said it complemented a similar ban in the adjacent Cottesloe fish habitat protection area. It would also reinforce statewide bans on using mammal and bird products for berley. 

Fremantle residents overwhelmingly supported the ban, with 92 per cent of their 51 submissions giving it the tick.

But it wasn’t as overwhelmingly positive amongst others, with just 55 per cent supporting the ban.

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