The West

Fishermen queue for shark contracts
More than 20 commercial fishermen interested in shark cull contracts. Picture: AP Photo/Sea Shepherd)

More than 20 private fishermen have put their hats into the ring for the right to carry out the State Government's shark drum line policy over the next three summers.

Tenders for the drum line contracts for Perth and the South West closed yesterday afternoon and it is understood the Government received 21 submissions.

The number is higher than last year before a trial of the policy between January and April 30, and comes despite alleged threats and intimidation by activists towards businesses connected with it.

As recently as last month a Perth-based company opted to pull out of providing hooks and marine supplies to the drum line program after being targeted by anti-shark cull protesters.

In January, the Government was forced to instruct the Department of Fisheries to set and monitor drum lines in Perth as part of the trial because of alleged threats against the private contractor that was provisionally awarded the contract.

Although it was unclear last night how many of the 21 submissions were for the South West contract compared with the metropolitan one, it is believed the Government received multiple tenders for both.

The contracts are likely to be lucrative.

It emerged earlier this year that the commercial fisherman awarded the South West contract for the drum line trial was paid $610,500 for 107 days work - the equivalent of $5705 a day.

Under the Government's policy, drum lines are to be set off Perth and South West beaches between November 15 and April 30 for the next three years.

The aim is to catch great white, tiger and bull sharks bigger than 3m.

Announced last year after an unprecedented spate of fatal shark attacks off WA's coast, the policy has proved hugely contentious and drawn widespread anger from environmentalists.

After gaining only temporary approval from State and Fed- eral environment watchdogs for last summer's trial, the State Government lodged its plans for an extended program amid warnings that support was not guaranteed.

In response, the Government has given itself room to break contracts with fishermen carrying out the policy.

The West Australian

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