Barnett abused over shark drum lines
End of operation: Drum lines are pulled from the sea off Perth. Picture: Seven News

Colin Barnett has been forced to take down one of his social media accounts after it was inundated with "vile and disgusting" attacks from anti-shark kill protesters.

On the same day authorities pulled drum lines off Perth and South West beaches, it emerged yesterday the Premier had been subject to threats of rape and murder via his account on photo-sharing website Instagram.

Asked about the threats, Mr Barnett confirmed he had received "hateful and despicable material" and had decided to close the account to spare him and his staff being exposed to it.

"People were using the account solely as a forum to post repeated, crude, obscene anti-shark policy messages regardless of the nature of the photograph posted and I did not want my staff subjected to hateful and despicable material," Mr Barnett said.

"People have a right to disagree with our policy but the abuse posted was not acceptable for any public forum, let alone a government site."

The revelations came as this summer's trial of the Government's shark catch-and-kill policy ended, with a private contractor in the South West and Department of Fisheries in Perth removing about 60 drum lines.

Although the final cost of the trial is unknown and the Government is yet to release final figures for the number of sharks and other animals caught, it is understood not one great white shark was caught on a line.

The drum lines were set in late January and early February as part of efforts to catch great white, tiger and bull sharks bigger than 3m.

Mr Barnett said "a little over" 100 sharks, mainly tiger sharks, had been caught.

"Of that, about 40 were destroyed or died on the hook," he said.

A poll conducted by ResearchPanel and Painted Dog Research shows a strong anti-shark kill sentiment in WA, with 58 per cent of respondents either strongly or moderately opposed to the policy.

Twenty-two per cent of respondents backed it, including just 8 per cent who were strongly supportive, while 19 per cent were undecided.

An overwhelming 73 per cent of people under 24 opposed the policy, while women were also unlikely to agree with it, with 64 per cent opposed. In comparison, 51 per cent of male respondents opposed it while 29 per cent supported the use of drum lines.

The West Australian

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