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Calls for Western Australian Government to introduce ‘serious threat’ shark policy

Calls for Western Australian Government to introduce ‘serious threat’ shark policy
May 8, 2018

Recent attacks have seen the Western Australain Government put under pressure to implement its ‘serious threat’ shark policy, where large sharks seens as posing a potential threat to surfers and beachgoers are killed.

Debate about ocean safety continues to rage in the South West of Western Australia after two shark attacks last month, and ahead of a planned rally at Parliament House on Wednesday and a series of shark safety public meetings in Gracetown and Mandurah later this month.

As reported by PerthNow, the ‘serious threat’ policy introduced in 2017 means that sharks can be killed by Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development fisheries officers in “exceptional circumstances”.

These include if they are responsible for an attack and continue to linger at a beach posing a public threat, and if other attempts to remove them have failed.

The catch and kill laws have not been used since the current Western Australian Government came to power, but a growing number of ocean users want the policy to be enacted after an attack.

Among them is the Cowaramup Bay Boardriders Club based at Gracetown. Club president Peter Cawood said committee members had met, and while “we certainly don’t want a cull”, the club wants sharks responsible for an attack and continuing to pose a danger to be caught and killed.

Cawood said the Club was also calling for a shark-spotting tower at Lefthanders, receivers to detect tagged sharks in Cowaramup Bay and at Lefthanders, and a trial of ‘smart’ drum lines. It is also planning education and first-aid sessions for members.

Sea Shepherd Managing Director Jeff Hansen said better beach signage, personal shark repellent devices, and medical kits at beaches were the best ways to save lives. 

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