Shark study confirms pointlessness of Barnett’s drum lines

A Fisheries Department study into white shark movements off the WA coast confirms that the Government’s 2014 drumline trial did nothing for the safety of ocean users, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says.

“These results confirm what shark scientists were trying to tell the Government two years ago: individual white sharks don’t habituate certain areas off the WA coast or visit one spot each season, meaning that killing a white shark off one beach is not going to make sharks less prevalent in that location,” Ms MacLaren said.

“It also confirms that in January to April, which are the most popular swimming months in Perth, white sharks are no more likely to come near the metro coastline – in other words, the Premier’s comments in 2014 about having to act to stop swimmers being killed was pure hysteria.

“I applaud the Fisheries Department for conducting and publishing this research because this is authentic information that can inform policy as well as ocean water users about how to manage  risk.

“If there was one good thing that arose out of the disastrous 2014 drumline trial it was that it was so idiotic that it sparked a national debate - many people became more educated about sharks as a result.

“It is essential Fisheries keeps building on this research because there is still so little known about this species and changing ocean conditions may cause changes in shark numbers or movements.

“The Barnett Government slashed funding to its scientific shark monitoring network in the 2015-2016 Budget, causing the Greens to raise concerns  about the Department’s ability to adequately maintain and replace its ageing receivers – the Greens’ will scrutinise next month’s Budget to see if this has been rectified.”