Sunday, 6 July 2014

WA shark cull condemned by global group of marine scientists

Expert submission to WA's EPA says lethal program is ‘not scientifically supported’ and will damage ecology of the ocean

Oliver Milman, Friday 4 July 2014 07.44 BST

Shark cull policy

The 13-week trial involved the setting up of baited hooks, attached to drumlines, 1km out from more than 70 beaches in the Perth and southwest WA area. Photograph: Sea Shepherd/AFP/Getty Images

Western Australia’s strategy of catching and killing sharks via baited hooks is “indiscriminate” with no evidence that it will make the ocean safer for swimmers and surfers, according to a group of 301 scientists from around the world.

In a submission to WA’s Environmental Protection Authority, the experts say the lethal program is “not scientifically supported” and will damage the ecology of the ocean.

The submission, backed by marine scientists from countries including Australia, the UK, the US and Spain, states: “The impacts on targeted wildlife and regional ecosystems are unquantified and have the potential to be significant.

“Given the range of non-lethal, demonstrably effective strategies available to mitigate risk and improve our understanding of shark distributions and behaviour, we need to move beyond lethal options.”

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