Clarification on alleged Shark Cull Order by WA Minister

Hon Norman Moore MLC
Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Fisheries; Electoral Affairs;
Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council


Date: Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Inquiry from: WA Today

Re: Sharks

Response from: Norman Moore

In response to your article Sea Shepherd opposes call for shark cull online today, is quite


“While three shark attacks in almost as many weeks is an unprecedented circumstance which
required an unprecedented response, my decision to authorise the Department of Fisheries
(DoF) officer to destroy the white pointer shark following the attack at Rottnest Island was not
only governed by that. Every incident is judged on the circumstances.”

“This is the first time the Government has authorised the exemption to be used because of the
circumstances of that particular incident, which included sightings following the attack and that
DoF were mobilised to the area quickly which significantly increased the possibility the shark
could be caught or tracked.”

“The initial response is usually to reduce the risk of “imminent danger by closing beaches and
removing people from the waters. However, Rottnest island presented the situation in which
many people swim off boats and do not only enter the water from the beach, therefore could
possibly not be aware of signs or patrols. Also, holiday makers are often not tuned into media
reports which could also inform them.”

“All of these factors presented higher risk of human life being endangered and required the action
that was taken.”

“There is no order to cull sharks or a „shoot to kill‟ order – there is an exemption under the Act
that has always been there to take an endangered species if/or when it poses an imminent threat
to human life.”

“Any future situations will all be assessed on the circumstances at the time and this incident will
not set any precedence.”

“The Great White Shark is a protected species, therefore protocols are in place which allow for a
shark to be destroyed only when human life is in immediate or imminent danger. These protocols
are backed by other measures designed to minimise the risk posed by sharks.”

“I understand the community concerns about recent shark attacks along the WA coast and in
response I have requested the Department of Fisheries (DoF) to review all strategies to mitigate
the risk of future attacks. That review has begun and at this stage the State Government is
considering all options.”

“The department‟s Shark Hazard Committee (SHC), includes representatives from a range of
stakeholders including DoF, the Water Police, the Department of Environment and Conservation
(DEC), local Government and Surf Life Saving WA, has been tasked with the review.”

“The SHC previously undertook comprehensive analysis of different methods used to mitigate
shark hazard in other states and countries around the world, including beach netting systems. It
concluded that the nature of the coastline and tidal systems here in WA rendered the systems
used in other states/countries ineffective. Shark netting is also not discriminative and can impact
on other species. All of this is now being reviewed.”

“The Department of Fisheries is also currently completing a two year research project to examine
whether acoustically-tagged white sharks can be monitored by a network of acoustic receivers to
better understand their movement patterns in near-shore waters and how those movements
relate to the risk of shark attack. This feasibility trial is due for completion in early-mid 2012 and
its results will be considered to evaluate whether this type of research offers a cost-effective way
to reduce the risk of these very rare events.”

Media Contact: Jean Stewart

Source:  Premier of Western Australia & Cabinet Ministers



1 Comment

  1. Lana

    And to think over 19,000 people signed a petition to ban something that was never there. These shark groups are as bad as the media, this must have been a way for one of the shark groups to get more money or brag they are protecting sharks.

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