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West Oz shark catch-and-kill policy nets first victim

Great White Shark © Terry Goss



Shark Updates

Premier Colin Barnett defends plan as 'protecting' community

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 January, 2014 - The shark was caught on baited drum lines which were set off WA's south-west coast on Saturday. Fishermen contracted to carry out the work shot the animal. The shark is more than three metres long; however, its species has not yet been confirmed.

The State Government's new catch-and-kill policy was announced in December, following seven fatal attacks off the WA coast in three years. Premier Colin Barnett has defended the policy, arguing public safety is at risk.

"When you have sharks that are three, four, five metres long of known aggressive varieties, swimming in the water very close to beachgoers, that is an imminent danger," Mr Barnett said."I get no pleasure out of seeing sharks killed but I have an overriding responsibility to protect the people of Western Australia."

What is shark control?

The key measure in the WA package is the use of baited drumlines to catch sharks before they enter the new management zones. While this is a new strategy for WA, drumlines have been used in Queensland and the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal for many years. They have a similar function to the shark nets also used in those regions and in New South Wales. A drumline consists of a large baited hook suspended from a large plastic float, which in turn is anchored to the sea bed.

The Queensland Government's Shark Control Program manager Jeff Krause told Fact Check that in his state, shark nets and drumlines are used in combination along 85 beaches "to catch resident sharks and sharks that move through an area while feeding on bait fish". KwaZulu-Natal similarly uses a combination of nets and drumlines. New South Wales only uses nets, in place on 51 beaches including in Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and the Illawarra.

Nets and drumlines are in place in Queensland and South Africa for most of the year, but NSW runs its program only between September 1 and April 30 and, according to a NSW Department of Primary Industries document, nets "may not be in place on every beach every day" even during that limited period.


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