Scientists get their teeth into shark-bite off study

Shark bite offs are a big issue all around our State and fishery scientists trialling a range of deterrents have carried out their first test-run filming sharks savagely hitting baited hooks and hooked fish in the Abrolhos.

The work is part of the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) project, surveying recreational fishers about their experiences and views on the shark-bite off issue while also gathering more information to help find solutions.

This first run out by the research team, led by DPIRD Principal Fisheries Research Scientist Dr Gary Jackson, used cameras attached to fishing lines to film bait and fish being hit by sharks.

As you can see from the video below, the ‘taxmen’ obliged and moved in and resulting the video footage the team captured was dramatic!

Dr Jackson said the Abrolhos trip was a pilot “shake-down” trip to lay the groundwork for the ‘guts’ of the research project that will be carried out in the weeks ahead.

“We were able to get the sharks excited by hooking up with baldies and pinkies, which allowed us to test out some of the gear, the cameras we’re using and the logistics,” Dr Jackson said.

“We’ve still got a lot of footage to work through, but we’ve already learned a lot from this first trip.”

What’s next?

The next phase of the project will see DPIRD researchers heading to, first, Shark Bay and then Exmouth and the Montebello Islands to get into the meat of the project testing three specific types of gear whose manufacturers say have already shown promising results.

“We need to test the gear at different locations and habitats and on different species of sharks,” said Dr Jackson. “Then it’s a case of analysing the hours of video we’ll be shooting to assess the effectiveness of each set of gear.

Sharks have a major impact on the recfishing experience in WA’s northern waters.

“Two of the devices work by disrupting the shark’s highly developed sensory system as it moves in on its prey, whereas the third uses sound of orcas to effectively scare sharks.

“There is a long history around developing shark repellent technology going back to the 1940s when the American navy put a lot of money into it to protect servicemen who might find themselves in the ocean.

“But with large global leisure industries like the surfing, diving and now recreational fishing looking to use this tech, product development is speeding up now.”

Recfishwest will keep you posted as to how this important project develops in the coming weeks and months with Dr Jackson indicating the results of the online and phone survey components of the project expected to be ready soon.

The taxman unfortunately got to this coral trout before it reached the boat.

Continue Reading

June 18, 2024

Senior Police Sergeant says fishing safety angel ring saved man’s life at Quobba

A Carnarvon senior police officer at the centre of a risky rescue of a fisher washed off the rocks on our Mid-West coastline said the man would not be alive had he not been kept afloat by an angel ring –…

Read More

June 07, 2024

Gascoyne’s spectacular fishing on full display at Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition!

Hundreds of local community members and more than 250 fishers flocked to Carnarvon to experience the highly anticipated Carnar-Fin Fishing Competition.  Since its inception in 1992, Carnar-Fin has become an annual…

Read More

May 31, 2024

Get your marine park submissions in by June 16 to defend access to our cherished fishing spots

Recfishwest is urging ALL FISHERS who care about protecting access to cherished fishing spots to make a South Coast Marine Parks submission before the June 16 deadline. Whether you live and fish on the South Coast…

Read More

May 30, 2024

Fishing families flock to Denham for 2024 Shark Bay Fiesta!

For the 29th year running, the coastal town of Denham swelled in size for the hugely popular Shark Bay Fiesta that celebrates the fantastic fishing on offer in the Gascoyne region.   Recfishwest joined the Denham…

Read More

May 29, 2024

Popular fishing jetties around WA set to benefit from the budget

Jetties are the heart of local coastal communities, providing accessible fishing for everyone and essential nearshore habitat for a range of important fish species.   In good news for fishers, numerous jetties…

Read More

May 22, 2024

The past, present and future of WA’s artificial reefs and Recfishwest’s role!

Ever wanted to know the history of how artificial reefs became so successful around the world and the future reefs set to make a splash off our coastline?   Recfishwest’s Programs Manager James Florisson also…

Read More