WA's government announced their new policy on shark control. Photo: Shutterstock

WA’s government announced their new policy on shark control. Photo: Shutterstock


The Inertia

Western Australia’s State Government announced their new shark policy after an unprecedented amount of attacks and a public torn between the safety of the sharks and the safety of the ocean-goers.

The new policy establishes baited drum lines offshore in special monitored zones, then employs professional shark fisherman to catch and kill sharks. It comes after the death of Chris Boyd, the 11th fatal attack in WA waters in the past ten years, according to The Australian.

After announcing the shark policy, Premier Colin Barnett said that the changes would be significant and some people would be critical, but the public wanted more action.

The kill zones, called “Marine Monitored Areas” in the policy, stretch from Quinns to Warnbro, and Forest Beach to Cape Naturaliste and Prevelly in the state’s south. Any shark that measures in over three meters (around 10 feet) in these areas will be hunted by fisherman, who will have a license to kill the animal.

The policy instates a few measures:

Baited drum lines to catch large sharks within one kilometer from shore. Vessels will monitor them, and they’ll be deployed from January 2014 through until April 2014. A more long term establishment of Coastal Shark Management Zones along the coast, which are decided by the geography, environmental feature, and how often/what the water is used for – swimming, surfing, or diving.

A kit for each zone that mitigates the risk of shark attacks, including education pamphlets, air and beach patrols, more signage, and beachside trauma packs, similar to the defibrillators found in airports.

A recovery policy that supports communities affected by a shark attack.

The new policy will be reviewed annually.

While WA’s new policy has been established, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said that he was not taking White sharks off the endangered species list. He went on to say to The Australian that the Commonwealth was happy to consider the new shark strategy, adding, “human life must be paramount. However, we are not revising the threatened species list or legislation, and that has already been agreed with the Minister.”

  • http://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog Chad Nelsen

    Pre-emptively killing sharks is a response based on emotion rather than of scientific data

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/experts-says-shark-cull-would-be-pointless-20131203-2yojx.html#ixzz2n67B1pUO

    • rspkt

      This. Exactly.

    • Joe M

      Nearly every point made in that article is dubious.

      Culling large sharks in areas where people swim clearly reduces the chances that people will be attacked by a shark there. The only way to deny that scientifically is to claim that dead sharks can somehow attack people.

      To break it down: We know that every shark of a certain size, in a certain area, has potential to attack a person. Killing any number of those sharks therefore reduces the potential for a shark attack occurring. It’s as concrete a reality as 2+2.

      Just the opposite conclusion of this article, the response to shark culls by the shark lobby is based on emotion rather than basic logic and consistent ethics. Hundreds of thousands of fish are routinely killed (including sharks) for no greater purpose than the fun of fishing. Governments publish guides on when and how to catch fish… for fun! Where is the “outrage” over sport fishing?

      What does it say about a person who thinks that protecting human life is a bad reason to kill a fish but killing them for fun is ok?

      • Jeff Byrnes

        “Culling large sharks in areas where people swim clearly reduces the chances that people will be attacked by a shark there.”

        Then these idiots should stick to swimming pools. Oh, wait. They might drown (which has a MUCH higher chance of happening than death by shark).

        Or maybe they should stick to fishing. Oh, wait…:

        http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20130624_lightningsafety.html

        Great.

        Cull bears where people camp, fish, and hike.

        Cull tigers where people travel.

        Cull bees where people go… anywhere.

        Cull wolves…

        Get it yet?

        If you don’t want to take the risk don’t leave your house or office (incidentally, you are FAR more likely to get killed in and/or on your way to both places).

        I have no respect whatsoever for anyone who wants to child-proof the planet. Ironically, doing so only pushes future generations’ prospects closer to the edge of the abyss.

        If I don’t want to risk getting eaten by an animal I won’t go anywhere that animals might eat me.

        Part of what makes surfing places like Pipeline worth the experience is that you might die doing it – possibly by a shark, too.

        Maybe we should put foam rubber all over the reef instead.

        There’s no fun in a life without risk.

  • Patrick Smyth

    Blame the shark for being a shark? Aussie thinking at its best.

    • Jeff Byrnes

      Cheap shot. I agree with your sentiment but this is Oz thinking at it’s worst. They do have great ideas, this just isn’t one of them.

  • Joe M

    This is a great development on this issue. I hope they adopt something similar in the US (and elsewhere) before more people are needlessly hurt/killed.

  • Joe M

    Do you have an argument to make? Or is your contribution limited to name-calling?

    • Jeff Byrnes

      In this case, S4R1N simply realized that, in this case, the best path to take for this particualr destination was a straight line.

  • Kira Gibbons

    This is ridiculous… one enters the water knowing that there are dangers!
    The Ocean is their home NOT ours… you can’t put imaginary boundaries &
    expect them to obey… OR be killed!
    11 deaths in 10years is NOTHING compared to how many
    Sharks will be slaughtered.
    Accept the consequences & dangers of swimming
    in the ocean or STAY OUT & swim in something MAN MADE!
    LET THE SHARKS BE.

    • Joe M

      Which 11 of your loved ones would you sacrifice to save sharks?

      11 human beings are not “NOTHING”. I’m sorry that you feel that way.

      • Jeff Byrnes

        Your equating willingly engaging in risky behavior with forcibly sacrificing people.

        ZERO rationality. Total logical fallacy.

        S4R1N has you squarely pegged. But go ahead and keep trying to jump in round holes.

  • Joe M

    Your described approach doesn’t seem very logical given that the shark cull is occurring due to people with positions similar to mine. Name-calling and minimal effort to make an alternative case seems unlikely to accomplish anything toward what you want.

    Also, you say that you don’t want to make an effort to give your allegedly powerful argument. But, you take three paragraphs to explain how good it is and how dumb anyone is who disagrees. What a mighty stand you have taken!

  • JHH

    From the Sharkwater documentary from a biologist (I recommend):
    sharks kill 5 people a year.
    Elephants and tigers: 100
    execution: 2,400
    illegal drugs: 22,000
    road accidents: 1,200,000
    starvation: 8,000,000
    So … the government could save a hell of a lot more people by telling people to stay out of the water where there’s sharks, and instead invest in road safety. Or drug policing. Or feeding starving people. All the while avoiding killing endangered keystone species on which our whole ocean ecosystem relies …

    • Jeff Byrnes

      You should have thrown in how many people are killed by LEGAL drugs… and, literally, peanuts.

      There are far more deaths caused by things that are “legal” than sharks could every dream of in their most orgiastic feeding frenzies.

  • Jeff Byrnes

    Since 1580 there have been well below 1000 recorded shark attacks on humans in the entire world. That’s ALL attacks, most of which were non-fatal.

    So we should cull any potential predator at any place in the world where people choose to make a playground of a habitat?

    You don’t want to get eaten? Fine, don’t go anywhere or do anything that might get you eaten. That’s both far easier and much less costly than child-proofing the planet for pussies.

    BTW, I love my friends and family but if any of them got eaten in an area where that risk was known I would cry it out and move on with my life, NOT freak out and seek low-brow, knuckle-dragging revenge on an entire species that wasn’t acting in anything even remotely resembling a vindictive disposition.

    Stay the hell home, cowards. The real world is for those hardy enough to handle it on its own terms.