PERTH (AUSTRALIA)- The much debated ‘shark cull’ of Western Australia seems to imposed on the citizens by the local government. It turns out that less than 20 procent of the Western Australians agree with “culling sharks”.
More than 50 per cent of them said although more needed to be done about sharks, culling was not the answer. Most respondent did not believe there was anything that could be done to increase the safety of water users from sharks.
These opinions were revealed in a research paper the state government commissioned but never publicly released. The 2013 report clearly showed the majority of respondents surveyed did not support the killing of sharks off the coast in an effort to reduce the risk of shark incidents.
The document titled “Department of Fisheries Community Perceptions Research” was completed in May 2013 and has since been leaked to Sea Shepherd. Fairfax Media has obtained a copy of the research, which was compiled by Marketforce and based its findings on responses from 768 West Australians.
Most respondents believed individuals were responsible for ensuring their own safety against sharks, with the state government the second most voted-for option when it came to responsibility for safety.
The survey identified increased aerial surveillance as an initiative that made more people inclined to use beaches in the metropolitan area, while in regional areas the corresponding initiative was warnings of tagged sharks from WA’s shark monitoring network.
Shark kill zones
The state government is awaiting approval for its shark kill zones program to operate for a further three years following the trial which ran for three months earlier this year. The kill zones involve baited hooks on drum lines set one kilometre from shore on selected WA beaches. Any great white, bull and tiger sharks caught on the line and measuring longer than three metres are shot dead as part of the program, designed to reduce the risk of shark attack to the public.
The zones are part of the state government’s $22 million shark hazard mitigation program which also includes a number of other features increased aerial surveillance and research into shark deterrents. The program was prompted by seven deaths as a result of sharks in WA in less than four years.
The Environmental Protection Authority is expected to finalise its report into the proposal by early September.
Read more at WA Today.