No to shark drum lines

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The Greens (WA) have slammed calls from NSW for WA to introduce smart drum lines as a means of shark control.

The latest high-profile comment came from Ballina mayor David Wright, who said “you’re absolutely stupid if you don’t go for smart drum lines”.

Referring to the loss of the Margaret River Pro as an example, he said he couldn’t understand why WA would be “against something that doesn’t hurt the shark and provides so much information for the community”.

Earlier in the year, NSW Primary Industry Minister Niall Blair had also offered to give smart drum lines to the McGowan Government for a trial, but the offer was rebuffed.

Greens (WA) fisheries spokesperson Diane Evers said there was no conclusive scientific proof that the drum lines reduced the amount of shark attacks.

“It will be an expensive exercise to introduce the lines, which are not species-specific and threaten other marine life,” she said.

The system works through satellite technology, which triggers an alert to a response team when an animal, not necessarily a White shark, is hooked.

Ms Evers said the Greens continued to support the government rebate scheme for personal shark deterrents.

The devices emit a small electrical field around the diver or surfer, which affects the delicate sensory organs on the shark’s nose.

Ms Evers said she was pleased to hear that State Government was working on shark mitigation strategies around the use of shark detector beacons that pick up the signal of a tagged shark and relay it to the public.

“There is nothing that can completely eliminate risk if you go in the ocean. Yet just as a seatbelt improves your safety significantly, so will wearing an independently tested personal shark deterrent,” Ms Evers said.

“Ocean goers should also check the government Sharksmart website, sharksmart.com.au.

“I would suggest to the NSW ‘experts’ that they refrain from telling WA how to manage our problems.”

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