MP calls for shark drum lines’ return

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson has renewed calls for shark drum lines on the south coast after the release of a report on WA’s great white shark numbers.

A recent study has revealed WA’s great white shark population is twice that of the east coast.

A CSIRO report estimated Australia’s western great white shark population, ranging from Geraldton to western Victoria, had 1460 adult sharks, compared to the east coast’s 750.

The report could not determine whether white shark numbers had increased on Australia’s south-west coastline as no previous data existed.

The news comes after the Albany Advertiser revealed the number of detected tagged sharks along the Albany coast nearly doubled in 2017.

These findings have led the Federal Government to urge WA to revisit the drum line policy, despite last year’s Senate inquiry finding no benefit from drum line use across Australia.

However, Mr Wilson argued the drum line policy had led to only one fatal shark attack on the East Coast, compared to 15 for the same period in WA.

“The State Government has made a decision that lethal mitigation measures are off the table and that’s their call, but they need to do something to protect the people of Western Australia,” he said.

The WA Government is using drones and personal shark deterrents as mitigation measures.

But Mr Wilson said the shark deterrent device rebate was not a long-term option and offered no protection for tourists.

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly insisted WA beachgoers were at no more risk of shark attack than people on the east coast.

He said the WA public did not want a shark cull and the CSIRO report did not recommend any mitigation measures.

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