Nats MP wants drum lines trial
Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman has called for a trial of SMART drum lines off the region’s surf breaks.
Mr Redman and his National Party colleagues recently met with NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair to discuss east coast research after a political stoush last month in which WA Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly rejected an offer to borrow the SMART — Shark Management Alert In Real Time — drum lines for testing.
Mr Redman said he was convinced the technology would help restore confidence among beachgoers and tourists.
“Given WA has critical emerging issues around water safety and the impact it has on tourism branding and major events, I don’t understand why Dave Kelly won’t put resources towards supporting what has been a very effective strategy in NSW,” he said.
NSW offered five SMART drum lines but Mr Kelly declined the proposal, astonishing anti-shark campaigners after saying it would cost $75 million a year for a comprehensive roll-out.
“The cost Mr Kelly has quoted is way off the mark, according to Mr Blair,” Nationals fisheries spokesman Colin de Grussa said.
Mr Redman said NSW estimates put the cost at $16 million for four years, “which includes an integrated strategy of aerial surveillance, drones and drum lines”.
The South West Safe Shark Group — which led a rally at Parliament House last month — said it would raise the matter again at an upcoming meeting with Mr Kelly.
“By having the rally at Parliament House last month, (we) high- lighted the problem in the South West,” organiser Keith Halnan said.
Disposal of whale carcasses and signage issues would also feature in other meetings the group planned, he said.
“We are looking at the whole shark mitigation policy and working on a framework that reflects a more effective response,” Mr Halnan said.
“Why shouldn’t we put in place best practice to reduce shark attacks?”
Responding to Times inquiries, Mr Kelly reiterated the Government’s existing “comprehensive” policy, putting a focus on patrols and subsidies for personal antishark devices.
But the minister also did not rule out the proposed trial.
“For over a month I have been seeking data from the NSW Government about the effectiveness of (their) drum lines,” Mr Kelly said.
A May 18 commitment from NSW to provide the data had not come through, he said.
“Without a scientific assessment, it would not be appropriate at this time to commit to the use of these drum lines in WA,” Mr Kelly said.
He said he looked forward to talking with Mr Halnan’s group.