Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Shark Management

In reply to the Hon. C. BONAROS ().14 November 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): I am advised:

I thank the Hon. C. Bonaros for the question related to shark management and mitigation measures in South Australia.

While not ignoring the significance and tragedy of any loss of life or harm to persons from sharks in the coastal waters of our state I believe that I have covered the spectrum of the government's approach to the management of sharks in South Australia.

If I may reiterate—

White sharks are protected in South Australia and they are important apex predators that are vital to the health of our ocean ecosystems. From an ecological perspective any mitigation measures that may harm sharks, or other marine animals, will not be supported.

By their nature sharks are transient and highly migratory. They are very much part of our South Australian aquatic environment. Given this, management and exclusion zones are problematic and likely to be ineffective.

Notwithstanding the recent deaths and injuries raised by the honourable member the incidents of shark attacks has, thankfully, been very low.

South Australia does have, as I have already covered in my previous response, a range of mitigation measures in place to reduce the risk of shark-related incidents to the public within our coastal waters.

My understanding of mitigation measures adopted in other states, including shark exclusion areas, are not without their own problems or limitations. There is no shark safety plan that is 100 per cent effective.

Research into sharks and shark behaviour is ongoing and South Australia has a shark response plan in place.