EPA common sense on sharks welcome although some questions remain

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has applauded the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for making a common sense recommendation by advising against the WA Government’s proposed shark cull.

“Following this week’s revelations of poor process by the EPA’s board and Chair, this outcome on sharks goes a small way to redeem the EPA board in the public eye,” Ms MacLaren said.

“It follows the enormous efforts of thousands of Western Australians from all backgrounds who have stood up to the Barnett Government to protect our marine environment – people including mums, dads, professionals, students, children, surfers, divers, business owners, swimmers, you name it, including those who rose in the dark each morning last summer to spend hours on boats, monitoring and recording last summer’s senseless, cruel, unscientific slaughter.

“Both Labor and Liberal governments in WA have form in overriding EPA recommendations in WA so the battle is far from over – but the message to Premier Barnett and Federal Minister Hunt is clear: culling is not the answer.

“While I welcome the EPA providing a proper assessment on this issue I remain concerned that the summer 2014 cull went ahead without any assessment by the WA EPA and that an exemption was granted under the Federal EPBC Act on the most spurious grounds that it was in the national interest.

"Over three and half months last summer, 172 sharks, all of which are supposed to be protected in WA, were captured, and most of them we know subsequently died a slow death that achieved nothing to increase human safety.

“We mourn them but for now, today is a cause for a big celebration, for so much hard work by many good people.

“The decision now rests on Minister Jacobs and Minister Hunt, who would be very brave to fall deaf to the recommendation by the EPA and huge community and scientific opposition. I urge them both to decide appropriately, in favour of common sense, logic and science.”