Answers by the Minister point to 'Serious Muddle' over ‘Serious Threat’ shark policy

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says more questions have emerged about the Government’s attempt to kill a protected tagged white shark in Warnbro Sound before Christmas after the Fisheries Minister said in Parliament this week that a kill order would not be issued again under similar circumstances.

“In answer to my question: ‘Is it the Government’s intention to try to kill more protected sharks fitted with acoustic tags in the future when the sharks have not been seen by anyone, let alone threaten anyone and whose presence is only known about because they have been detected on an acoustic receiver?’, the Minister answered: ‘The simple answer to that is no’,” Ms MacLaren said.

“This raises the obvious question as to why did the Fisheries’ acting Director-General order a tagged white shark in Warnbro Sound to be killed in December, when that shark had not been seen by any member of the public, nor had she threatened anyone.

“Did the Department’s acting chief misunderstand and contravene the Serious Threat Guidelines?

“These are questions the Minister now must answer.

“The rest of Minister Baston’s answer was also strange. He suggests that because the serious threat policy is not the drumline program, which was rejected by the CSIRO and Environmental Protection Authority for being environmentally unsound, the serious threat policy does not require environmental assessment.

“Yet it is clear the Serious Threat Guidelines will kill more vulnerable white sharks than the drumline program that was rejected out of concerns for its impact on white sharks.

“It is a month since I referred the Guidelines to the EPA for assessment and so far all the EPA has said is that it is seeking more information.

“I wonder if the delay is because the State Government agencies involved realize that they are going to have a hard time justifying the Guidelines.”