Shark culls should be confined to history
Statements made overnight by Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg that he would consider culling sharks, despite the lack of a NSW proposal, were met with alarm today by Humane Society International.
“The NSW Government has clearly ruled out a culling program for sharks, and yet the Federal Environment Minister persists in letting them know that he would consider a culling proposal” said HSI’s Senior Program Manager, Alexia Wellbelove.
This is despite the West Australian Government experience in 2014 which clearly demonstrated the public’s strong opposition to shark culling programs, and the West Australian Environmental Protection Authority’s subsequent recommendation that a three year deployment of baited drumlines not be implemented due to the high degree of scientific uncertainty about impacts on the viability of the south-western white shark population.
“Shark culls are an outdated, failed strategy and not something the Federal Minister for the Environment should be publicly advocating. We therefore call on the Federal Minister to pursue a policy of science not culls” said Ms Wellbelove.
HSI is also concerned at suggestions by the Federal Environment Minister that mitigation measures other than culling would not require federal approval. HSI considers that any expansion of the NSW Shark Meshing Program to new areas or the establishment of drumlines as a new shark control measure in NSW would require approval under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
HSI is also aware of the NSW Government’s ongoing consideration of expanding the Shark Meshing Program to Ballina beach. HSI urges the NSW Government to stick with the non-lethal alternatives as part of their Shark Management Strategy that arose from the Shark Summit in September 2015.
“We know that the NSW Government’s own shark experts do not support a net at Ballina beach stating it is not practical, and given the local dolphin population such a net is likely to have a high ecological price, with no added protection for surfers. We therefore call on the NSW Government to remain focussed on non-lethal alternatives and reject calls for more nets” concluded Ms Wellbelove.