Western Australia Bid For 3-Year Shark Cull Under Scrutiny by Watchdog

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Animal Rights Activists Gather to Denounce Controversial Programme to Cull Sharks Off Coast of Western Australia.
Animal rights activists gather to denounce controversial programme to cull sharks off coast of Western Australia. February 1, 2014. REUTERS/Julie Noce

Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) will be evaluating the country's plan to extend its shark cull policy for up to three years.

The environmental watchdog has previously dismissed the shark cull trial assessment which began in January and set to end in the last week of April. The decision has angered conversationists.

In the latest update, the EPA will assess the state's plan to resume the catching and killing sharks on Nov. 15 until April 2017. Western Australia's bid for a three-year extension will now be reviewed by the agency. The state government has formally applied to continue setting up its 72 baited drumlines one kilometer off the coast of popular beaches.

The three-year shark cull bid came after the fisheries staff attempt to catch and kill a huge white shark seen swimming close to Perth beaches earlier in April.

The EPA said it will review the state government's plan in light of the increased duration of the shark cull and the strong public opposition against the policy.

The federal government is also expected to conduct its own assessment after previously waving through the shark cull trial without investigating the impact of the cull on great white sharks and mako sharks. Both species are under environmental protection.

The continuation of the shark cull will allow Western Australia to catch and kill any tiger, bull or great white shark longer than 3 meters caught. Sharks that meet the minimum size requirement are shot then dumped further out at the sea.

According to Western Australia, the number of static drumlines in the water will not be greater than 60 at a time. The state keeps 12 drumlines in reserve in an event of shark attack. 

According to state figures released in March, the shark cull policy has caught 104 sharks, including 101 tiger sharks.

Western Australia Greens MP Lynn MacLaren was "appalled" by the state's application for extension. She said the government has not bothered to consider the options presented to it.

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