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16 December 2013 - HSI urges Commonwealth to step in on WA shark policy      

HSI urges Commonwealth to step in on WA shark policy

16 December, 2013          

Humane Society International (HSI) has instructed its lawyers to write to the Federal Environment Minister following the concerning new shark policy, proposed by the Western Australian Government on 10th December 2013.

HSI believes that the proposed WA policy will have a significant impact on the white shark, which is listed under federal environment laws as both a vulnerable species and a migratory species. In addition, HSI believes that the policy will impact on a number of other listed threatened species such as the harmless grey nurse shark which could be caught and killed as bycatch.

HSI is calling on the Federal Environment Minister to intervene in the WA proposals to set baited drum lines and establish zones where large sharks will be killed.  This not only goes against Government policy to recover threatened species such as the white shark, but also, most importantly, will not be effective in providing greater protection from the low risk of shark bites to ocean users,” said Alexia Wellbelove, Senior Program Manager of Humane Society International.

HSI agrees that the safety of ocean users is critical, but we do not consider that setting drum lines one kilometre from shore will increase safety, in fact it could create quite the opposite scenario with fish and large sharks being drawn to these areas. We therefore call on the WA Government to abandon their policy and instead put more effort into existing research activities. This is the only way to help us better understand the white shark and its movements, which in turn will generate data that can be used to help protect ocean users,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.

HSI has today written to the WA Premier, Colin Barnett advising him of our position and urging him to abandon the new shark policy. In the meantime we will continue to investigate all legal options available to challenge the WA policy.

Great white sharks have been protected in Australia since 1999 as a result of an HSI nomination, following concerns of their decline. Since that time there is no evidence to suggest that great white sharks have experienced a surge in numbers. 

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