Greens MP speaks out on shark culling

Albany Advertiser

South West Greens MLC Diane Evers says shark culling will not reduce the risk to water users ahead of the second hearing of the Federal Government’s inquiry into shark management in Perth tomorrow.

Ms Evers questioned why Liberal MPs were calling for more culling of white sharks when the practice was not backed by science.

“The 2014 WA shark cull using drum lines was a shemozzle with not one great white shark caught despite these sharks being the only species confirmed as responsible for fatal bites in WA,” she said.

“As most people understand, the highly migratory nature of great white sharks means that the entire population found roaming between here and Bass Strait would have to be killed to make WA waters safe from them.”

Ms Evers said CSIRO-led research, due for completion in December, would provide new estimates on the size of white shark populations off the east and South West Australian coast. “(However), being the first time the methodology is used, it won’t show whether either population is increasing or decreasing,” she said.

“This is important because Federal laws for protecting and de-listing threatened species require scientific evidence data on population trends.

“Further, the WA and South Australian State Governments oppose culling, leaving offshore Commonwealth waters, which start 5km off our mainland and islands, the only ocean where the Federal Government could order a cull.

“A shark bite is horrifying, and loss of life is tragic. As long as Federal Liberals make culling their focus, they will distract from measures that genuinely can make the ocean safer.”

After the fatal shark attack on Laeticia Brouwer, near Esperance, in May, O’Connor Liberal MP Rick Wilson said he supported shark culling.

“Anecdotally, particularly around Esperance, I have spoken to abalone fishermen, who tell me the number of great whites that they see is increasing,” he said.

“There’s no silver bullet that is going to fix this problem but I think that if the State Government decided to go down the route of culling, then I would certainly support (Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh) Frydenberg giving them an exemption to allow them to do that.”

In May, Albany MLA Peter Watson said the State Government based its shark mitigation strategy on science and other options such as subsidised shark-repellant devices.

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