The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended that Western Australia’s controversial shark culling program should not be extended, citing that there is a “high degree of scientific uncertainty” about the impact of the drumlines on the great white shark population. Now, the baited drumlines will not be deployed this summer.
Under the Western Australia government’s proposal, more than 70 hooks would be strung around 1km off popular beaches in Perth and other neighboring areas each summer for the next three years. The state’s own environmental assessment estimated around 25 great white sharks would be snared on the hooks. The great whites are a protected species under state and commonwealth regulations.
Earlier this year, the area held a three-month trial program, in which 172 sharks were caught just between January and April. The entire shark culling program has been a subject of huge public interest. Prominent public figures have even raised their concerns about the program. According to The Guardian, “The cull has been the subject of international condemnation, including from actor Ricky Gervais and billionaire Richard Branson.”
The EPA received 6751 public submissions and two shark cull petitions with around a total of 25,000 signatures. Additionally, protests have been held on beaches around the world to raise awareness and place scrutiny on the program. “Many of the public submissions raised issues in relation to the effectiveness of the proposal from a public safety perspective,” said Chairman Dr. Vogel, of one motivation for the protests.
The cull lines would have been set between November and April in an effort to catch not only great whites but tiger and bull sharks over three meters in length. The recommendation came just days after a great white shark along the Eastern coast of Australia killed a man. The 50-year-old Paul Wilcox was bitten in the leg and loss too much blood before he was brought to shore.
How do you feel about shark culling programs like this one?