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.”