‘World-Class’ Shark Research Program to Lose Funding

posted: 06/19/15
by: Danny Clemens
A wide shot of Michael Domeier onboard a boat tagging an adult, female Tiger shark.
Rory McGuinness/DCL

Drastic cuts to the Department of Fisheries' budget could spell the end of Western Australia's "world-class" shark tagging and research program, warns politician Lynn MacLaren.

Funding could dry up as soon as July, MacLaren told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview. Once funding runs out, there would be no staff on hand to continue tagging new sharks and no funding to maintain the existing network of GPS receivers.

"They've cut the fisheries budget to the point that they will completely undermine our world-class research in sharks," laments MacLaren.

According to the Department of Fisheries website, more than A$1.7 million in funding was allocated to shark research projects between 2011 and 2015.

The tagging program is part of the larger Sharksmart initiative, which provides a variety of tools to protect both sharks and humans. According to its website, SharkSmart maintains an active Shark Response Unit that responds to shark bites and provides "advice and information to people who are considering using the water". It also provides an interactive website that allows users to track the movements of tagged sharks throughout Western Australia.

Earlier this year, US-based research organization OCEARCH launched an exhaustive shark tagging initiative in Western Australian waters. The Western Australian government turned down offers from OCEARCH to collaborate and share the costs of the project.

Learn more about shark tagging:

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Shark Tagging Explained

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