Shark cull court battle begins
Activists launch court bid to end WA's shark cull. Picture: Sea Shepherd

Protected sharks will continue be taken every day that the State Government's drum line program continues to operate after it was adopted without any authorisation, a lawyer for marine activists has told the Supreme Court.

Environmental activists Sea Shepherd and Sharon Burden, whose son Kyle was killed by a shark in 2011, have launched the Supreme Court proceedings challenging the validity of the decision to set baited drum lines off beaches in Perth and the South West.

Ms Burden and Sea Shepherd have applied for an immediate injunction to force the Government to remove the drum lines, arguing that exemptions granted under fisheries management laws were unlawful.

Lawyer Richard Hooker told the Supreme Court this afternoon that there were circumstances of "genuine urgency" in the case.

Mr Hooker said there were two significant and strong issues of public interest involved in the case - the the proper administration of Government and the continued taking of totally protected sharks.

"A proper characterisation of what has happened is that by the stroke of an executive pen, the Government has carved itself out of important prohibitions that bind it," Mr Hooker submitted.

"For every day that this program continues unrestrained, where as we have submitted there has been prima facie a want of any authorisation for this program, more and more sharks are taken and they are totally protected sharks.

"If this program is not restrained right away then on the face of it the program continues to take totally protected sharks.

"That, Your Honour, is what is critical to this case and critical to why we seek an interim injunction."

The hearing is continuing with State Government lawyers responding to the application.

The West Australian

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