The West

WA Premier Colin Barnett. Picture: The West Australian/Bill Hatto

Former Federal environment minister-turned Sea Shepherd board member Ian Campbell has warned the activist group its credibility in WA will plunge if it associates with "radical fringes" threatening to sabotage drum lines to catch sharks.

Throwing his weight behind the State Government's policy of baiting hooks to kill sharks, Mr Campbell said if there was a shark attack and it was found that someone interfered with nearby lines, they would have blood on their hands.

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The Howard government environment minister, who is on Sea Shepherd's international advisory board, said his views were not popular in the organisation.

After seven fatal shark attacks in three years, Mr Campbell said human life came first and the Government "has to do something".

"It just cannot put up with losing so many lives and destroying so many families," the former WA senator said.

"I have made it very clear to (Sea Shepherd Australia managing director) Jeff Hansen . . . that we need to tread very carefully in relation to how Sea Shepherd handles this issue."

Sea Shepherd has vowed to expose deaths of dolphins, seals, turtles or stingrays inadvertently caught under the policy, but pledged to keep its activities within the law.

Mr Hansen said the organisation respected Mr Campbell and valued his contribution towards disrupting Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, but would not be seeking his advice on the shark policy.

Asked whether saboteurs of drum lines would have blood on their hands after an attack, Mr Hansen said the "meat curtain" of baited hooks off WA would bring sharks into the area.

The West Australian

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