Have your say as UWA studies public attitude towards shark control methods

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Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Shark net at Middleton Beach.
Camera IconShark net at Middleton Beach. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany residents are being encouraged to have their say on shark control measures after recent shark sightings and alerts at local beaches.

A new research project from the University of WA’s Albany campus, in collaboration with Bristol University in the UK, is investigating public attitudes towards shark control measures.

The study is also looking at how people’s views are influenced by factors such as ocean use and knowledge of shark conservation and management.

Several strategies to manage shark and human interactions have been implemented around Albany, where Middleton Beach hosts one of the State’s few shark barrier nets.

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UWA Albany researcher Barbara Cook called on Albany residents aged 18 or older to get involved in the study.

The online survey asks participants for their attitudes towards current shark control methods, along with their knowledge of shark species and individual ocean use.

UWA Albany project supervisor Paul Close said developing strategies to manage the risks of shark and human interactions was “complex, difficult and often contentious”.

“It’s a balancing act. Effective strategies need to consider both the human dimension, in terms of public safety, and the welfare and conservation of sharks that play an important role in maintaining healthy marine environments,” he said.

The results of the study will be published in a marine conservation scientific journal.

According to researchers, the most common form of shark control includes culling and the use of drum lines and nets.

But changes in public attitudes in recent years have indicated support for non-lethal approaches.

To take part in the study, visit bit.ly/3zrFTQu.

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