The West

Shark protest targets city
Shark protest targets city

Environmental activists will protest against the Barnett Government’s baiting and culling of sharks in Bunbury on Saturday, claiming the policy is based on unsubstantiated evidence.

The Bunbury Climate Action group has organised the rally to take place at Back Beach on Saturday.

Australian Marine Conservation Society board member Dr Jill St John and marine ecologist Ben Fitzpatrick will speak at the event.

Dr St John said there was no scientific evidence to prove that culling sharks would reduce shark attacks.

“The WA shark killing program makes no sense, ” Dr St John said.

“It goes against its own Fisheries Department commitment to ensuring the sustainable use of Western Australian shark resources in accordance with the principles of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.”

Environmental scientist Dr Kristy Winn said the Government had not gone through the necessary processes required to receive exemption from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

“Usually an organisation would have to do an environmental impact assessment, ” Dr Winn said.

“The Government hasn’t done this and their reasons for being exempt are very broad.”

Members of the group are concerned the program could affect other marine life including protected species of turtles, dolphins and sea lions.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the lack of research about certain species of sharks meant culling their population could have unexpected impacts on marine life.

“We know so little about the biology of these animals that we run the risk of impacting other species, ” he said.

“The indiscriminate nature of the culling could mean that some of the 300 sharks that have been tagged that we are studying could be caught and destroyed.

Protest event organiser Beth Castieau said she expected more than 300 people to attend and protesters would make a human formation spelling out the words ‘No Cull’.

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