Western Australia’s peak conservation group has strongly welcomed the announcement today that the shark drumline trial will be discontinued, and the McGowan Government will focus on alternative shark safety measures that do not involve the capture of sharks on drumlines.
The announcement came as the advice of the Chief Scientist concluded that SMART drumlines is not effective at catching white sharks and provides no demonstrable value in reducing the risk posed by white sharks off the South-West coast.
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said the announcement by Minister for Fisheries Don Punch that the trial would be ended and drumlines would not be introduced in other places was welcome.
“There was no science to support the use of drumlines before this trial, and the outcome has confirmed that drumlines are not an effective shark safety measure.
“We call on those who are concerned about shark risk to accept the results of this trial and to work constructively with the government and community to implement alternative shark safety measures that do not involve capturing or killing sharks.
Simon Blears, who represented the Conservation Council on the Stakeholder Reference group for the trial said, “It is pleasing to see the outcome of this trial matching what many groups foresaw would be the result at the outset. I believe that it’s important that the groups involved in the Stakeholder Reference group continue to work together to provide the Government with the best advice possible as well as oversight of the ongoing program. I’d like to thank the Department for their transparency during regular meetings, willingness to listen to suggestions and the adoption of several of those recommendations made including onboard independent observers and underwater video monitoring and recording of the releases. I’d also like to thank the volunteer observers who spent an entire day at a time out on the water with the Contractor during the trial."
Mr Verstegen said the Conservation Council welcomed the additional funding that would be provided for shark tagging and an expanded shark monitoring network.
“There is still a great deal of knowledge to be gained about these species that are incredibly important for the health of our marine environment. Additional resources that will allow the sharks to be better understood and managed is welcome and we encourage the community to get behind these and other shark safety measures supported by the McGowan government.”