Shark recreational fishing

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Boat-based and shore-based recreational fishers take sharks in Western Australia, mainly in the West Coast and South Coast Bioregions. Sharks are not always the target species but are caught accidentally when sharks take bait intended for other species. Although most species of sharks are released by recreational fishers, gummy and whiskery sharks as exceptions are often kept.

There is a Statewide total ban on catching grey nurse, white, speartooth and whale sharks.

For other species of sharks, there are bag limits and in some cases, size limits. In addition, if you are fishing with the use of a powered boat, you require a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence.

Size limits

In the West Coast and South Coast bioregions, but not other areas, whaler sharks have a maximum size limit. The limit was introduced in 2009 as part of the recovery plan for dusky and sandbar sharks and is designed to protect larger breeding sharks.

The ‘inter-dorsal fin’ measurement must be no more than 700 mm measured from the front of the dorsal fin on the top of the shark to the back of the smaller rear dorsal fin.

Whaler shark species include the dusky shark, bronze whaler, sandbar ‘thickskin’ shark, spinner shark and bull shark.

Fishing rules

Legislation has been introduced which prohibits fishing with wire trace at Port Beach and Leighton Beach. The new rule complements the existing ban on shark fishing in the adjacent Cottesloe Fish Habitat Protection Area, as well as the state-wide prohibition on the use of mammal and bird products, such as blood and offal, as berley. For more information, read the Prohibition on Fishing (Wire Trace) Order 2022.

Information on fishing rules for sharks including size and bag limits can be found online or in our Statewide Recreational fishing guide.

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