New Western Australian Fisheries Minister finds answers through research, not culling!
Great news, it looks like we could be close to an official win on this campaign!
Minister Punch (Western Australian Fisheries Minister) released a statement yesterday, saying they have managed to drastically reduce shark depredation through non-lethal measures, including shark deterrents. Some quotes from the release are below, with the full release linked at the bottom of this email.
"The three deterrent devices tested did not stop shark depredation occurring in each instance but the probability of fish lost to sharks was significantly lower when deterrents were used. The effectiveness of the deterrents was also influenced by the number of competing sharks.
Scientists from DPIRD began the study by seeking feedback from fishers through a phone and online survey. Results of that survey indicated that the main way anglers avoided bite-offs was by moving fishing spots or simply pausing fishing.
The survey also revealed fishers mitigate shark bite-offs by employing mitigation measures such as rapid retrieval, heavier fishing line, electric reels, avoiding the use of burley or baits and not dumping fish offal. This is the first study to document the different methods fishers are using."
We are seeking comment from from Minister Punch that this officially puts and end any consideration for a Western Australian shark cull that was being called for by recreational fishers, and that such a program is not on the agenda. We will send another update once we receive an official response.
A reminder that despite this good news, two official government run shark culls do currently operate in Australian waters, in the states of Queensland and New South Wales, and have done since 1962 and 1937 respectively. Our petition against this can be found here.