This summer Western Australia’s beaches will likely be free of drum lines previously imposed by the State Government to cull the shark population.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) today recommended the removal and discontinuation of drum lines along WA’s coastline for the next three summers, WA Today reported.
WA Premier Colin Barnett said it’s unlikely Environment Minister Greg Hunt and WA’s Minister for Environment Albert Jacob would oppose the recommendations.
“I do not think drum lines will apply in WA this summer and probably, maybe, not again,” Mr Barnett said.
However, he has no regrets about his decision to initially implement the drum lines, which caught 172 sharks last summer, 50 of those over the three-metre target size.
“I cannot simply walk away and say that’s the EPA decision. They only look at the environment. I have to look at environment plus public safety. I don’t like drum lines more than anyone else but I had to respond to a situation of seven fatalities in three years,” he said.
EPA chairman Paul Vogel said scientific uncertainty surrounding the impact on population numbers due to shark culling prompted the organisation’s recommendations.
While confident about the safety of Perth beaches, Barnett had reservations concerning “rogue sharks” patrolling the state’s south-west shoreline.
“The critical issue now will be what we do in a situation where a large predatory shark remains in an area for an extended period. The tagging program has identified in the south-west particularly that is the case. A number of sharks just circulate around the one area.”
“If a shark stays in the proximity of a popular swimming area I still think the government needs to do something about it. We need to study the decision of the EPA and look at that. I don’t think it’s acceptable to leave a dangerous situation just to continue on.”
WA’s drum lines did not net a single great white.
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