Geraldton shark confirms all that’s wrong with culling

Reports about a four-metre great white shark washed up dead on a Geraldton beach confirm some of the most obvious flaws in the WA Government’s drumlining strategy, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says.

“First we heard that several members of the public repeatedly try to save a great white that had stranded itself off the beach, at some personal risk to themselves,” Ms MacLaren said.

“One must assume that these beachgoers are not part of the Premier’s imagined “silent majority” who support his desire to exterminate large sharks off our beaches. 

“Secondly, descriptions of this shark match the species and size of shark that the Government aimed to kill this summer, albeit while failing to do so – and yet we also learn that this great white had been fitted with an acoustic tag by South Australian researchers. 

“This highlights one of the major policy ‘fails’ of the Government’s drum lining strategy. On one hand, the Barnett Government spends taxpayer funds on WA having a world-class acoustic array and large shark tagging and tracking system so that we can learn more about the shark hazard, including by working with research organisations in South Australia – while on the other hand it plans to spend millions of dollars killing the same animals. 

“The Government is yet to produce an answer as to what it would do if its drum lines captured a large white great white fitted with an acoustic tag at considerable expense and effort by our Fisheries Department, South Australian authorities or the CSIRO.

“If this were to occur, the Barnett Government would have some serious apologising to do, not just to the research organisations whose research had been jeopardised but also to WA taxpayers for wasting their money.”