Shark cull  get-out clause
Shark cull 'get-out' clause

The Barnett Government will give itself room to break contracts with fishermen carrying out its shark drum line policy amid doubts about whether it will clear environmental hurdles.

Tender documents have revealed that "unless all approvals, licences and exemptions are obtained" for the policy the Government would be under no obligation to fulfil the contracts.

State and Federal environment regulators are currently assessing the Government's plans, under which drum lines will be deployed off Perth and South West beaches between November 1 and April 30 for the next three years.

It comes after a trial of the policy, which is aimed at catching and killing great white, tiger and bull sharks bigger than 3m, was held between January and April this year.

Faced with the environmental scrutiny, the Government has previously said it was confident of gaining the approvals in time for November.

However, the inclusion of the proviso in the tender documents will give the Government leeway in the event approvals are delayed or the plans are rejected.

"Respondents are advised that unless all approvals, licences and exemptions are obtained… the Contract will not come into effect, and; the State… will be under no obligation to continue any arrangement or contracting activity associated with this Request," the tender says.

It is unclear what level of interest there will be from fishermen to bid for the drum line contract given the strong opposition to the Government's policy which has seen individual businesses targeted by protesters.

Last summer, the Government was forced to instruct the Fisheries Department to carry out the Perth drum line program after the private contractor provisionally awarded the work pulled out amid the backlash.

Tenders for the Perth and South West contracts close on July 28.

The West Australian

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