The State Government raised the possibility of an open sea shark cull, or having the great white species removed from the protected species list, as it formulated its reaction to the state's latest fatal attack.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has revealed that before he approved WA's controversial catch and kill drumline action off Perth and south west beaches, he knocked back two even more radical proposals from the State.
They included a request about the possibility for the right to catch sharks in open waters off WA, and also a reconsideration of the great white's protected status.
“I had a respectful conversation with Troy Buswell while he was fisheries minister and told him I would not be considering the first two - the delisting, or open cull in the open seas,” Mr Hunt told Fairfax radio.
“I rejected two out of three requests - the first was for reconsideration of the listing of the great white shark, and I wasn't willing to do that.
“Second was a request to consider whether or not there would be an open right for catching in the open sea and I rejected that.
“The third was about safety measures at a limited number of high-volume, high-risk beaches and that is part of the right of a state government to take reasonable and limited measures for public safety.”
Drumlines are set to appear off the south-west coast this week, after Mr Hunt granted WA an exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, allowing the protected great white shark to be killed.
Plans to set drumlines off Perth beaches have been delayed, after potential professional contractors pulled out because of alleged threats from environmental activists.
While Mr Hunt said any threats were deplorable, he understood the passion within the debate.
“You don't have to like it, and I understand and sympathise with that view from many people,” Mr Hunt said.
"But there have been a series of tragedies and in that circumstance it is reasonable, and the act was always designed to allow ... for a state government to be exempted to take safety measures.”
The death of Chris Boyd was the seventh in WA waters since August 2010 and came only a month after abalone diver Greg Pickering was mauled.
In seeking the exemption, the State Government said the spike in attacks had dented tourism and leisure-based businesses, with recreational diving operators reporting a greater than 90 per cent plunge in people learning to dive.
But the plan has incensed conservationists, with the Humane Society labelling it “a complete disgrace“, while thousands of protesters recently rallied against it on a Cottesloe beach and plan a repeat on February 1.
Mr Hunt confirmed that after this summer trial, which ends on April 30, there would have to be a full Federal environment act assessment if the policy was to continue.