Clar­ity needed on shark kill rules

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

RULES for killing sharks im­me­di­ately threat­en­ing a beach ap­pear to give more Fish­eries of­fi­cers power to de­stroy the an­i­mals with­out ask­ing State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, which Premier Colin Bar­nett says should be by­passed.

“In the event that ei­ther, or both, of the (de­part­ments’) direc­tors-gen­eral are un­avail­able, the decision-maker is au­tho­rised to pro­ceed,” says the Guide­lines for Fish­ing for Sharks Pos­ing An Im­mi­nent Threat to Pub­lic Safety from Novem­ber 23, 2012.

There were five at­tacks un­til the pow­ers were en­acted in Nov 2012 and the State Gov­ern­ment gave Fish­eries of­fi­cers pow­ers to kill a shark, in­clud­ing Fed­er­al­lypro­tected great whites, within WA’s three nau­ti­cal mile limit.

Can­berra’s ju­ris­dic­tion starts at three nau­ti­cal miles and it ad­min­is­ters the Fed­eral Act pro­tect­ing great whites in all wa­ters.

NoWASharkCull con­venor Natalie Banks said Mr Bar­nett may be mis­lead­ing the pub­lic by im­ply­ing that Can­berra’s ap­proval was needed to kill im­mi­nent threat sharks when the guide­lines only listed Depart­ment of Fish­eries’ per­mis­sion.

Ms Banks said the State Gov­ern­ment had to clar­ify the guide­lines’ mooted stream­lin­ing and say if ex­emp­tions would be sought to kill great whites im­me­di­ately and beyond three nau­ti­cal miles.

They also needed to ex­plain why they were still seek­ing drum line ap­proval from Can­berra.

On Septem­ber 11, Mr Bar­nett ap­peared to dump the drum lines in Perth be­fore say­ing he wanted of­fi­cers to have im­me­di­ate pow­ers, with­out de­part­men­tal nods or Can­berra’s ap­proval that “could take up to two hours”, to de­stroy a shark stay­ing off a beach par­tic­u­larly in the South West in school hol­i­days.

A Depart­ment of Premier and Cab­i­net spokesman said Fish­eries’ re­gional and shark re­sponse man­agers were the only al­ter­na­tive ap­provers to kill if a di­rec­tor gen­eral was un­avail­able.

He said Can­berra’s per­mis­sion was only needed dur­ing the ex­ist­ing Pub­lic En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­view (PER) that the Com­mon­wealth used to de­ter­mine the Gov­ern­ment’s re­quest to ex­tend the drum line pro­gram.

It was “very un­likely” hooks for im­mi­nent threat sharks would be set fur­ther than 3 nau­ti­cal miles

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