Federal Govt Puts the Skids on WA Shark Cull Extension
Friday, 7th March 2014 at 9:09 am
The Federal Government says Western Australian Government’s shark cull won’t be extended without a full environmental assessment.
Late last year the Western Australian Government launched a shark cull strategy that included setting baited drum lines to catch large sharks 1km from shore, with vessels monitoring the drum lines.
The WA Government said that the measures were to improve public safety and build on the State Government’s approach to shark hazard management, and were set to finish up this April.
Federal Minister for Environment Greg Hunt said in response to a request from the West Australian Government to extend the current operation, that the Federal Government had reiterated that the scheme required a full assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
“The current operations can continue until April 30,” Hunt said.
“However, as I have previously informed the West Australian Government on making the original decision, there would be no further extension without a full assessment.
“Western Australia will need to refer the program for assessment under national environment law.
“We will work co-operatively with the West Australian Government through this process.
“I recognise the importance of human safety, as was the case for the original exemption to allow limited actions to protect swimmers following the recent increase in shark attacks, in two small areas of an over 12,500 kilometre coastline.
“Importantly, the issue has highlighted the need for further research into the shark population off the Australian coast.”
Hunt said the Federal Government was committing $379,000 for research into the white shark population.
“It will aim to locate juvenile and nursery aggregation areas to enable genetic and electronic tagging to build a greater profile of the population and trends,” he said.
Other measures included in WA’s shark mitigation strategy were:
Boosting the response to shark attack by immediately setting drum lines, leaving them in place for longer and setting them in a wider area. More vessels will be available for faster response to an attack;
The long term establishment of specific Coastal Shark Management Zones along the coast, to be determined by geographical and environmental features and water use profiles (for example, swimming, surfing, diving);
Developing a ‘Tool Kit’ for communities in each zone in partnership with the State Government to mitigate the risks of a shark attack at local beaches. Measures could include education pamphlets, aerial and beach patrols, signage, providing beachside trauma packs and the deployment of drum lines. Each plan will be reviewed annually;
- And a community recovery policy to ensure support for communities affected by a shark attack.