Western Australian Shark Cull Dropped
The authorities in Western Australia have dropped the controversial cull of sharks using baited drum lines
The chairman of the local Enivronmental Protection Panel, Dr Paul Vogel said a 'high degree of scientific uncertainty' remains about the impact the cull on great white shark populations.
'At this stage, the available information and evidence does not provide the EPA with a high level of confidence. In view of these uncertainties, the EPA has adopted a cautious approach by recommending against the proposal,' Dr Vogel said.
The programme was initiated earlier this year in response to seven fatal shark incidents which had occured off WA beaches between 2010 and 2013. The government introduced the use of 70 baited hooks in order to catch and kill sharks larger than three metres, estimating to catch and kill 25 great white sharks in a three-month trial period. Records show that during this time 172 sharks were caught, with only 50 being longer than three metres and killed, but none of the 172 caught being great whites.
Marine scientists, local communties and celebrities around the world widely criticised the cull, saying the programme was ineffictive. In an open letter sent to the WA government in June, a group of international shark researchers expressed their opposition against the catch-and-kill policy, pointing out that the use of non-lethal shark mitigation programmes has proven to be effective elsewhere.
The EPA's recommendation is open to appeal for two weeks, however Premier Colin Barnett said that it was 'very unlikely' that the government will appeal the decision.