WA shark cull plan "ineffective"

Friday January 24th 2014

WA shark cull plan "ineffective"

A local marine conservation group has weighed in on Western Australia’s shark cull debate, labelling the plan as “ineffective.”

WA premier Colin Barnett’s proposed cull of sharks over 3m in length, including the nationally threatened and protected Great White, was sparked recently after a series of attacks off popular WA beaches. In opposition, activists took to social media to rally against the cull and organise protests around the state.

The Federal Government this week approved the cull, with Opens external link in new windowThe Australian reporting WA would be exempted from federal environmental laws to allow shark hunting using baited drum lines. 

According to The Australian, Evironment Minister Greg Hunt said in a letter to Mr Barnett that he accepted sharks posed an "imminent threat'' to public safety and the state economy.


Heidi Taylor of Port Douglas-based non-profit Opens external link in new windowTangaroa Blue joined conservationists, including the Humane Society, in criticising the cull.

“We believe that drum lines are an ineffective management tool to reduce shark attacks,” she said.

“By laying baited drum lines 1km off popular beaches, you are effectively creating a burley trail, which will travel on currents which could travel towards the beach, actually increasing the risk to swimmers.

“There is no guarantee that the sharks will bite on the bait and hook, but the smell will attract the sharks to the area. It is basically burling up an area of the ocean where swimmers are in the middle of, and expecting the shark to do what you want it to do – eat the bait and not anything else in the area.”

In his analysis of shark culling on Opens external link in new windowThe Conversation, Assistant Researcher at the University of Hawaii, Carl Meyer, said "the current proposal provides no estimates of how many sharks will be removed, making it impossible to gauge the likely impact on the shark species in question, or possible broader, ecosystem-level effects."

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