Sharks to be baited, shot at sea
Sharks to be baited, shot at sea

Great white, tiger and bull sharks longer than three metres caught on drum lines will be shot in the head discarded out at sea under the Government’s shark mitigation strategy.

Specifics of the plan announced by Premier Colin Barnett and former fisheries minister Troy Buswell on December 10 have been revealed in a tender calling for professional fishers to carry out the job.

The successful respondents will be required to deploy, manage and maintain drum lines in two “marine monitored areas” off the WA coast and respond to shark threats within 30 minutes where possible by deploying additional drum lines.

Permanent drum lines in the MMAs will be baited at the start and end of patrols, which will occur between 6am and 6pm, seven days a week.

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Targeted species of sharks meeting the three-metre criteria which are found alive on the drum lines are to be “humanely destroyed” with a firearm and taken to a yet-to-be-determined distance offshore for disposal.

But the Department of Premier and Cabinet, which issued the tender, “may direct a dumber of sharks to be brought to shore” during the early stages of the program.

All other by-catch is to be released alive where possible, but dead animals and those considered unlikely to survive are to also be humanely destroyed, tagged and disposed offshore.

Unused bait is to be disposed of onshore.

The successful tenderer has been promised exemptions from State laws prohibiting the killing or attempted killing of protected species, which includes great whites.

The tender also says other marine users are likely to be banned from going within 50 metres of the drum lines through the enforcement of Department of Transport exclusion zones.

Up to 36 drum lines are to be deployed in the two MMAs, whose boundaries have been bedded down.

Perth’s MMA will extend from Quinns Rocks Beach in the north to Warnbro Beach in the south, inclusive of all waters up to 1km offshore.

The South West’s MMA extends from Forrest Beach, north of Busselton, to Prevelly, south of Gracetown but is being rolled out in two phases.

Phase one involves drum lines being deployed between January 10 and February 10 from Cape Naturaliste to Quindalup Beach and phase two, from February 11 to April 30 will target Cape Naturaliste to Left Handers Beach near Gracetown.

John Harrison, CEO of the WA Fishing Industry Council which represents professional anglers, said applicants had been given little time to apply, by January 3.

“But those who are interested will make the time,” he said.

Mr Harrison said he was confident in the Government’s assurance of exemption from wildlife laws.

But Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said she could not see how blanket exemptions to the law could be granted without legislation or regulations coming before the Parliament.

“This is extraordinary,” she said. “It’s policy on the run.

“I also don’t see how the State Government can grant exemptions to Federal protections.”

The West Australian

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