Great white shark lurks at Meelup but popular beach stays open

Catherine Massey & Peta RasdienBusselton Dunsborough Times
Perth visitor Jason Ramshaw and friends said the shark didn’t deter them from the tourist hotspot on Australia Day.
Camera IconPerth visitor Jason Ramshaw and friends said the shark didn’t deter them from the tourist hotspot on Australia Day. Credit: Catherine Massey/Busselton Dunsborough Times

The same tagged great white shark stalking Meelup Beach for more than a month returned three times this week, setting off receivers multiple times on each visit.

Surf Life Saving WA issued alerts for the shark every day until the Times’ deadline this week, but the popular beach remained open.

Peter Godfrey, shark operations manager for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, said all detections at Meelup since the alert was issued on January 16 had been for the same shark.

Other sharks sighted in the Capes this week included a 4m white shark near Abbey boat ramp on Monday morning, and a bronze whaler shark at 7.38pm on the same day.

Perth tourist Johan Frederik Bekker Jooste swam at Meelup Beach on Tuesday and said detection of the shark did not deter him from the water.

“The sharks are out there anyway, they only know it’s there because it is tagged — they don’t know about the other sharks,” he said. Karl Thompson was also visiting the beach from Perth and said he was happy to swim with a shark in the vicinity.

“This is their beach at the end of the day,” he said.

Meelup was closed twice on January 15 after sightings of a 2m shark 20m offshore and a 4m shark, which was spotted 100m from the beach by the Westpac rescue chopper.

Swimmers have been warned the high number of detections increase the likelihood of encountering a shark at the beach.

Shark alerts and informa-tion are available on the SharkSmart website.

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