Nats MP wants drum lines trial

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

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.

Keith Hal­nan

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