Government backbencher 'deeply uncomfortable' with policy
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 5 March, 2014 - A Federal Government backbencher says he is "deeply uncomfortable" with shark culls and hopes an application from the Western Australian Government to extend its cull will be rejected on the basis of the scientific evidence.
Queensland Liberal National MP Andrew Laming says culling has been going on for decades in his state but that "doesn't make it right". "I'm a Queenslander that's been watching culling for a very long time [and] I'm deeply uncomfortable with it," he told the ABC. He says protests by thousands of Australians against the West Australian Government show the community is shifting in favour of the rights of the shark.
Dr Laming says education, not culling, is the key to reducing ocean fatalities. "I keep in mind that my own home state has been doing it for decades, but that doesn't make it right," he said. Dr Laming says not enough data has been collected to assess whether or not shark culls reduce deaths at sea.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has asked for a "full environmental assessment" of WA's mitigation strategy before deciding whether or not to grant permission for a second round of culling. WA can kill sharks until April 30 but will need the Federal Government's permission to carry out any culls beyond that date.
The Sea Shepherd environmental group yesterday failed in an attempt to get a court order to stop the WA Government's cull. Sea Shepherd took action in the WA Supreme Court, arguing that the policy of setting baited drum lines off beaches in Perth was operating without proper authorisation. But the court ruled that exemptions made under the Fish Resources Management Act were valid.