City of Fremantle officially bans shark fishing in local waters

It is now illegal to fish for sharks from the beaches of Fremantle, including the site of the latest deadly shark attack in Perth.

Following growing community concerns about the dangers of shark fishing luring predators to popular swimming spots, the city of Fremantle has implemented its new local law banning shark fishing.

It is hoped that the ban – which applies to the beaches at Port, Leighton, Bathers, and South – will make swimmers and beachgoers more comfortable in Fremantle’s waters.

The law prohibits fishermen from using metal wire or chain rigs, blood or berley as bait, and harpoon guns.

The ban is months after a 4.5-meter shark caught father-of-two Paul Millachip in November 2021.

Camera IconShark Attack Victim Paul Millachip Credit: Unknown/WA Police

Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said the attack, about 50 meters from Port Beach, was a driving factor in the council’s decision to act.

“The tragic fatal shark attack in Port Beach in November, plus the confrontational video footage of a shark being towed to the beach that emerged shortly afterward, have certainly made the public aware of the reckless practice of shark fishing on popular swimming beaches,” she said. †

“We received 120 submissions as part of our community consultation on this proposal, and over 70 percent favored the shark fishing ban.

“Among locals, support for the ban was even greater, with 92 percent of submissions in favor.”

Camera IconPort Beach Polar Bears were all relieved to hear the news that shark fishing on their local beach is now illegal. Credit: Barry Baker/WA News

Port Beach polar bear member Ian Brown said the group, who swim to the beach every morning, were “ecstatic” at the ban, as it evoked a sense of security missing after Mr. Millachip’s death.

“I have not heard a negative comment from any member about this ban,” he said.

“Everyone is extremely happy with the support and speed it has received to pass through government channels.

“We couldn’t believe that ‘shark fishing’ and the methods used would potentially be allowed on a metropolitan beach after the death of Paul Millachip.”

Mr. Brown said many group members were hesitant to swim to the far south of Port Beach after the attack, and many still refused to swim to areas where they once felt comfortable.

“Initially, there was a lot of resistance to swim south towards Sandtrax, but gradually some groups of swimmers started moving south, but everyone was much closer to shore than usual,” he said.

“I understand there are still swimmers who don’t go ‘south’ at all.”

The new law was passed at the city council meeting last month, meaning shark fishing is banned in Fremantle, Cockburn, and Cottesloe.

“In my opinion, it is crazy to throw blood and barley into the water to lure sharks to a place where people swim deliberately,” said Ms. Fitzhardinge.

“This ban on shark fishing will help create a safer environment for swimmers and other beach users.”

The fine for illegal fishing activities, including shark fishing, is $500.

John D.Mayne
I love to write. When I wasn’t writing for my school newspaper or college blog, I was writing personal essays and journal entries. Then I discovered I loved to write. In college, I wrote for my school paper and my campus radio show. I started doing freelance writing for the Huffington Post in 2009. Then, I joined the team at Newsmyth as a writer/editor. Now, I spend most of my time writing for Newsmyth and as a guest blogger on a handful of other blogs. When I’m not writing, I like to read, travel, cook, and spend time with friends.