EPA to assess shark kill plan
EPA to assess shark kill plan

The State Government's extended shark drum-line policy will be assessed by the Environmental Protection Authority.

In a statement this morning, the EPA said it had set the level of assessment as a Public Environmental Review with a four-week public submission period.

EPA chairman Paul Vogel said an assessment was required because the State Government wanted to run the program for three years.

Earlier this year the EPA declined to formally assess the program.

Dr Vogel said at the time it would not have a significant effect on the environment.

The proposal involves the temporary setting of up to 72 baited drum lines off metropolitan and south-west coastal regions of WA for four and a half months each year for three years, commencing November 15, 2014 and ceasing April 30, 2017, after which the program would be subject to review.

“Unlike this summer’s 13-and-a-half week drum-line program, the EPA will need to undertake a detailed assessment of the environmental impacts, including the cumulative impacts of implementing a 22-week program every year for three consecutive years to determine whether or not the EPA’s objectives for marine fauna can be met,” Dr Vogel said.

The EPA decided to assess the proposal to determine whether the environmental impacts could be managed and, if so, how.

“The new proposal was also referred to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and we are working closely with our Commonwealth counterparts to ensure a coordinated approach.

"The Commonwealth is yet to make a decision on whether or not the proposal is considered to be a Controlled Action – that significant impacts are considered likely,” Dr Vogel said.

This decision, which is expected next month, would determine whether or not a bilateral assessment of the proposal would be undertaken.

There were 543 public comments on the referral registered on the EPA’s website.

In addition, more than 9,000 comments were lodged with the EPA via the Conservation Council during the seven-day period.

The majority of these opposed the general deployment of drum lines for catching and destroying sharks. In view of the increased duration of the proposal and the level of public interest a public review of the proposal is warranted.

“It is important to reiterate that the EPA has made a decision on whether or not the proposal requires an environmental impact assessment, not a decision on whether or not the Government’s policy is working,” Dr Vogel said.

The proposal, referred on April 9 by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, would see drum lines set approximately 1km offshore from popular beaches and surfing spots within two marine monitored areas - from Ocean Reef to Port Beach in Perth and from Quindalup to Prevelly in the South-West.

The West Australian

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