Operator Joe Austin told ABC News that fur seal populations in the area had more than doubled since operations began, transforming it into a breeding colony and attracting hungry sharks, which liked to feed on seal pups.
“We’re seeing more sharks out at Cape Bridgewater than we have seen in the past five or six years,” Austin warned. He said school groups had been snorkelling in the area “and it’s just getting riskier and riskier with the increase in sharks”.
“A cage is one of the ways to allow people to get in the water and be protected.”
Across the border in South Australia, however, state Opposition environment spokesperson Michelle Lensink took the opposite view, saying experts suspected that shark cage diving tourism operations affected shark behaviour. The operations should not be allowed to be increase, she told the broadcaster.
Lensink made her comment a few days after after a shark bit off the leg of a 26-year-old surfer in an attack near Port Lincoln.
Shark cage diving operator had been lobbying the SA State Government for permission to enlarge their operations, Lensink said.
Written by Peter Needham