Cage diving with sharks has been banned in Western Australia, as the government vows to rule out tourism ventures based on attracting sharks.
There have been four fatal attacks by sharks in Western Australia since September - most recently, an Irish expat was attacked while paddling in a "surf ski" kayak in Perth last month. Experts believe that cage diving may be having an effect on the behavior of the animals.
This is partly because Western Australia does not boast any known areas where sharks congregate – like they do in South Australia and South Africa. Therefore, the possibility of businesses ‘baiting’ sharks, to guarantee sightings for tourists, was always more likely to be a possibility.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore, commented: “CSIRO research at shark cage diving sites in South Australia found that white sharks in the study area changed their distribution to align with areas of active berleying and, 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.”
The State Government had responded to community concerns by providing $13.65million across four years to reduce the risk of shark attacks by delivering comprehensive action to mitigate the hazards through increased awareness and extended research.