A tough balancing act
Something must be done: Andy Drake with daughter Grace, 2. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Andy Drake is something of a rare commodity in WA these days.

The British expat does not fall firmly into one of the two increasingly polarised camps at odds over the State Government's policy to catch and kill big sharks off popular swimming beaches.

Asked about his position on the policy yesterday, Mr Drake hesitantly acknowledged he "leans toward supporting it", although mused about how effective it would actually be.

Whatever the case, the 37-year-old is adamant about one thing - the baited drum lines deployed as part of the policy should not be interfered with.

Mr Drake is on holiday with his family at Meelup beach, near Dunsborough, where anti-shark kill activists allegedly sabotaged drum lines on Sunday by removing bait from them.

The alleged removal came after the first shark was captured on a drum line off Meelup beach earlier on Sunday and killed, sparking an outcry from environmentalists.

"I think they're there for a reason and whether you think they're a good or a bad idea it's wrong to tamper with them," Mr Drake said.

"We've lived in Australia for about six years and, to be honest, we thought about the shark issue before we came.

"There have been a lot of attacks and something needed to be done about it. I suppose you'll measure the success of them in a few years by seeing whether there have been any attacks.

"But in the meantime the Government has taken a decision to put these things in there and I think you have to respect that."

As Mr Drake and other holidaymakers lapped up the sun on Meelup beach yesterday, the fisherman contracted with setting drum lines in the South West went about his business just offshore.

Unlike the previous day there were no catches, but whether that was down to the vagaries of fishing or the alleged actions of activists was open for debate.

It is understood the fisherman was adamant fish had eaten the baits - a suggestion supported by photos showing partially consumed examples - and was now seeking "more resilient" bait to do the job.

The West Australian

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