Delay a signal of trial in error

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The Greens (WA) marine and coastal issues spokesperson Diane Evers has reiterated calls for the State Government to cancel the proposed smart drum-line trial to be held near Gracetown in early 2019.

The state opposition has accused Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly of trying to sabotage the measure and Ms Evers considers his department’s referral of the trial to the Environmental Protection Authority as a signal of it being a bad idea.

“The government knows this is not a good scheme — they agreed to it for political reasons,” she said.

“I fully support the need to take effective steps to minimise the risks of shark attacks while protecting the ocean ecosystem, but there is insufficient evidence to suggest that smart drum-lines are effective.

“Delaying the trial is not necessarily worth criticising the government for — but approving it in the first place under pressure from Canberra is.”

Ms Evers recently made a submission to the Environment and Public Affairs Committee on the matter and believes the smart drum-line trial may pose unacceptable risks to sharks and people.

“To date, there have been no independent reviews undertaken on smart drum-lines regarding their ability to reduce shark bites and increase ocean-user safety,” she said.

“Without evidence to prove their effectiveness, there is a potential risk that the baited smart drum-lines could attract more sharks from the deeper ocean to the area or increase the shark presence in another area.

The ongoing issue of a decomposing whale carcass in Yallingup as evidence coastal issues need better management strategies than currently seen.

“A whale carcass has been stranded on the rocks at Wyadup since August, just 20km away from where the smart drum-line trial is to be held at Gracetown,” she said.

“While I oppose the concept of a baited drumline as a solution to improving safety to humans in the water, having even more ‘bait’ nearby in the form of a carcass would surely affect any trial outcomes.

“There is no point of a trial if there are whale carcasses attracting sharks to the area.

Ms Evers recognised the need for a statewide approach to marine and coastal issues, and the imperative to protect ocean-users.

“The Greens (WA) share the drive for human safety and the need to provide appropriate standards to mitigate the loss of human life,” she said.

“However, Minister Kelly knows this is a bad idea and does not support his government’s own scheme.

“In fact, it would appear we are not addressing management strategies that could make ocean-use safer to the public.”

“Let’s end smart drum-line trials and seek evidence-based approaches to ensuring the safety of both the public and sharks in their natural habitat.”

Get in touch:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

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