WA seeks to shirk great white shark protection laws
Attempts by the West Australian Government to shirk protection for great white sharks as part of their new ‘shark mitigation policy’ has been labelled as irresponsible and a total disgrace today by Humane Society International (HSI), as HSI understands that the WA Government has sought exemption from its obligations under federal environment laws.
“Great white sharks were protected by the Federal Government following a detailed scientific review” said HSI’s Senior Program Manager Alexia Wellbelove. “As a result, laws are in place to help assess when any policy is having a significant impact on this threatened species, which the West Australian Government are clearly doing their best to evade.”
“The West Australian Government know that their unscientific and unjustified program will have a significant impact on the great white shark, so to get around this they are seeking an exemption under federal environment laws,” continued Ms Wellbelove.
“The Government has obligations under both state and federal environment laws, some of which are derived from Australia’s international obligations. To shirk these responsibilities for an unscientific policy which will cause a significant impact to target shark populations, and unknown damage to other harmless marine life such as the threatened grey nurse shark and sea turtles, is utterly irresponsible,” continued Ms Wellbelove.
“HSI is calling on the Federal Environment Minister to undertake a full assessment of the impacts of the West Australian policy and not simply dodge our domestic and international responsibilities,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.
HSI believes that the proposed policy will have no greater protection for WA ocean users from the risk of shark bites, and instead will have significant impact on the population of great white sharks on the West Coast. This is a population Australia shares internationally as sharks migrate across to South Africa, so HSI considers that the Federal Government has a key role in ensuring both federal and international obligations are met.