The Western Australian (WA) Government has launched several Shark Kill Zones along its beach shorelines to address shark-related deaths in the area and to counteract shark risks in WA. The planned shark safety measures were announced by WA Premier Colin Barnett and WA Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.
According to the Ministerial Media Statement found in the WA Government Web site, they are allowing sharks to be baited and caught in heavily used beaches in Western Australia, including the metropolitan area and the South West area. Drum lines will reportedly be used to catch large sharks that are found one kilometre from the shore. These drum lines will be deployed for 24 hours a day and will start on Jan. 2014 up to April 2014.
Aside from that, they will also use more vessels to monitor these drum lines and to ensure a faster and more aggressive response after shark attacks. They will also establish protection measures in long-term Coastal Shark Management Zones (to be determined by local communities).
The WA Government will develop a "Tool Kit" for these coastal communities to lessen shark attack risks at the local beaches. It may include shark attack risks and safety signage, education pamphlets, beach trauma packs, beach and aerial patrols and drum line deployment. They plan to review each of these annually to see if it works or not.
Aside from these shark attack safety measures, the WA Government will also have a community recovery policy to support the communities affected by shark attacks.
WA Premier Colin Barnett said that these new safety measures are meant for the improvement of public safety and the WA Government's shark hazard management.
"We are aware of the risks sharks pose to our beach users and the Western Australian way of life and we are implementing strategies to reduce these risks," he said in the Ministerial Media Statement found in the WA Government Web site.
"These new initiatives come on top of a raft of measures the State Government already has in place to protect beachgoers, like increased aerial surveillance, beach patrols, shark tagging and a trial of a shark enclosure in the South-West," he added.
WA Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell also said that the shark attack risk safety measures are meant to help beachgoers especially in the WA area to feel more secure and still have fun while making responsible decisions and being aware of the dangers in the water.
"These measures are just another step in the State Government's long term shark strategy which will include the establishment of Coastal Shark Management Zones," said Buswell in the Ministerial Media Statement found in the WA Government Web site.
"The preservation of human life is our number one priority and these measures are designed to do that, with minimum impact to the surrounding environment," he added.
WA Premier Colin Barnett and WA Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell were also interviewed by ABC News reporter Caitlyn Gribbin about the WA Government's new shark safety plan.
Both Barnett and Buswell reacted that these shark safety measures are not shark culling.
"A cull is when you go up over Lake Gregory and for very sound environmental reasons kill thousands of horses. This is a selected and targeted policy designed to keep an expansion of demersal gillnetting activity, and we're simply not doing that," said Buswell in the ABC News report.
"That won't be widespread culling of shark numbers, but where a shark enters into that zone or where a shark is frequently spotted around popular swimming or surfing areas, then measures will be taken to catch that shark," added Barnett in the ABC News report.
Despite the West Australian Government's efforts to ensure the public's safety against shark attacks in beaches including the launch of Shark Kill Zones along the beach shorelines, some people think it's too much and are protesting it. Concerned citizens, who include environmental and animal rights activists even staged a protest outside the building of the WA Government in Perth.
Here are some of the protesters' views as told to ABC News:
"I just want to get the message out there: people care about sharks and we want them protected and to stay protected," said Sam from Scarborough, in the ABC News report.
"Great white sharks are important to the ecosystem and important to the survival of the ocean, and they need protection. That's why they've already been given that protected status and I don't think that politicians get it when they're making these decisions on knee-jerk reactions," he added.
Click HERE to listen to the entire interview or read the transcript.
According to the WA Government Ministerial Media Statement fact file, more than $20million over four years to 2015-16 has been allocated by the WA Government for strategies towards the mitigation of shark hazard.
For shark sightings, make sure to report it immediately to the Water Police by calling 9442 8600.
To receive alerts on shark detections or sightings, don't forget to follow Surf Life Saving WA on Twitter (@SLSWA) and Facebook. Please check the Department of Fisheries shark information pages on its Web site at www.fish.wa.gov.au/shark or Click HERE.
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