THE Fisheries Department has publicly released guidelines of the circumstances in which they will kill a shark they believe poses a risk to humans.
At the same time they released findings from research that has dispelled a number of myths about shark attacks but shown that the likelihood of being attacked by a shark has doubled.
Department of Fisheries director general Stuart Smith said a change to the department’s previous definition of "imminent risk" means that a shark may now be considered to pose an imminent risk even before a shark attack occurs.
Under the guidelines the department may set lines to capture and kill great white sharks that come within one kilometre of the shore.
The department will take into account a number of factors including whether "conditions are conducive to people using the water" and if measures to clear people out of the water are unlikely to remove the risk.
An order to target a shark is only likely to be given during daylight hours.
If there is a plausible reason for sharks being attracted to an area, such as schooling fish in the area, there is less chance that a capture and kill order will be made.
The guidelines also set out a number of ways the department could attempt to reduce the risk that a shark poses.
The director general will have the final decision as to whether the department attempts to capture and kill a shark.
"These guidelines are not about culling sharks, they have been developed to assist the decision making process to protect public safety in state waters," Mr Smith said.
The department's head of research, Rick Fletcher provided new information about shark attacks, which came from the findings of the White Shark Correlation study.
He said while the chance of an attack by a white shark on a human had increased in the past 20 years, the risk was still small.
The rate of shark attacks in WA has gone from about 0.5 in one million two decades ago, to one in one million today.
The study found that attacks were not most likely at dusk and dawn as previously believed and happened in sunny weather most of the time, rather than in overcast conditions as previously thought.
Mr Fletcher however, said people needed to be aware that shark attacks could happen in any conditions and people had to assess the risk when entering the water.
The imminent threat guidelines were implemented on Monday.