Drum lines

Ex­pert calls for ex­ten­sion

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - War­ren Hately

Shark cam­paigner Keith Hal­nan is push­ing for the State Gov­ern­ment’s smart drum line trial to take in El­lens­brook and Um­bies surf breaks.

There are also grow­ing whis­pers that surfers in the Yallingup/Duns­bor­ough area want in on the trial, which was flagged last month.

Mean­while, Capes surfers have ques­tioned the tim­ing of Fish­eries Min­is­ter Dave Kelly’s about­face on smart drum lines as State Gov­ern­ment agen­cies ex­plore op­tions for re­lo­cat­ing the Mar­garet River Pro to Kal­barri.

Mr Hal­nan told the Times the re­cent an­nounce­ment was “cer­tainly a co­in­ci­dence and very in­ter­est­ing tim­ing”.

He noted the re­cent drum line trial news was an about-face by Mr Kelly, who ro­bustly dodged pre­vi­ous calls amid a stoush with the NSW Gov­ern­ment about ac­cess to their smart drum line pro­gram data.

“Why hasn’t our peak fish­eries body (Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries, and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment) got that sort of data?” Mr Hal­nan asked.

Mr Kelly told the Times more de­tails about the 12-month trial would come next month, while surfers be­lieved it would start in Jan­uary.

“The de­ci­sion to trial non-lethal smart drum lines in the State’s South West was made af­ter in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the NSW Gov­ern­ment on their trial was in­suf­fi­cient to de­ter­mine the ef­fec­tive­ness of smart drum lines and guide a long-term fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment for WA’s coast­line,” Mr Kelly said. “The Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to speak with key stake­hold­ers and the com­mu­nity prior to the com­mence­ment of the trial.

“Chief sci­en­tist Peter Klinken will con­duct an in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment . . . (and) will look at whether these drum lines are ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing at­tacks.”

He di­rected ques­tions about the Pro to Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia.

Surfing WA events man­ager Justin Ma­jeks dis­missed the “co­in­ci­dence” talk from on­line surf fo­rums. “We do not be­lieve the an­nounce­ment of the smart drum line trial has any­thing to do with the re­ten­tion of the Pro at Mar­garet River,” he said.

“Any mea­sures that can in­crease the safety of our mem­bers and other ocean users should be fully sup­ported.”

The de­bate fol­lows calls by Na­tional Surfing Re­serves chair­man Brad Farmer for tourism au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing Tourism WA, to sup­port re­ten­tion of the Mar­garet River Pro and aban­don un­pop­u­lar talks with Kal­barri board­rid­ers about re­lo­cat­ing the event.

Pic­ture: Si­mon Santi

South West Safe Shark Group con­venor Keith Hal­nan wants the smart drum line trial ex­tended to more surf breaks.

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