Tiger Shark
A young tourist places his hand on the glass of the big blue tank where sand tiger sharks (Carcharhinus Taurus ) and other fish species swim in the Palma Aquarium on the Spanish island of Mallorca August 31, 2011. Reuters/Enrique Calvo

WA School Surfing Title finals at Trigg Beach that was supposed to be held on Friday has been cancelled after an unprecedented number of shark sightings. Bronze whaler shark sightings between Trigg and Hillarys forced Surfing WA to send finalists home and postpone the event by a few weeks.

More than 100 surfers from 28 high schools were supposed to take part in the event and battle it out for the title from 9am. Bated drum lines were set by the Department of Fisheries near Trigg, off Bennion Beach on Thursday at about 4.20pm. This sparked accusations from WA Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren.

Around 61 shark sightings were reported between June 6 and Aug. 25 in that area, the department added. Most shark sightings were reported in the area between Watermans Bay and Mettams Pool. It is the first time in the past 25 years that such a major surfing event had to be cancelled by the State.

Surfing WA chief executive Mark Lane said that the State has no other choice “but to err on the side of caution,” reports Perth Now.

He added that all teachers from the 28 schools across the state involved in the event were consulted before taking the decision. Everybody agreed that the surfing event must be postponed and held again after a couple of weeks. The event determines which school has teh best surfers in WA.

Competitors from Albany in the south and Kalbarri in the north participate in the most-competitive surfing event. However, it may not be possible for all the schools to participate in the reschedule event.

“There’s a week that we’ve earmarked, but there are possibly a couple of days that will lessen the impact. We’re hoping to get as many back as we can, but at the same time remembering some have driven from Kalbarri and Albany just for today,” Lane said.