Shark cages shelved in W.A’s tourism plan
Despite attracting tourists from around the world, Western Australia has pre-emptively banned cage diving with sharks due to fears the operation could lure more sharks to the area.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore told The Age there had been no formal applications for cage diving with sharks, but he’d acted to let any potential operators know the government’s stance.
“I have decided that Western Australia will not be the place for shark cage tourism, like those currently operating in South Australia and South Africa,” Mr Moore said.
“While such ventures may generate direct or indirect economic benefits, there are also concerns that sustained activities to attract sharks to feeding opportunities have the potential to change the behaviour patterns of those sharks,” he added.
Research by the CSIRO at shark cage diving sites in South Australia had found that sharks in the study area changed their habits to align with areas known for feeding.
“While there was no determination from the study about the longer-term effects on shark behaviour or outside the study area, I would prefer to take no risks until more is known.
“With four fatalities in WA from shark interactions, since last September, the government is not willing to allow any ventures that may raise even greater public fears than already exist,” Mr Moore said.