Greens welcome calmer Government approach to sharks

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has cautiously welcomed the Government’s decision not to try to kill sharks under its so-called serious threat guidelines for more than a year, despite a small number of shark bite incidents, and usual number of shark detections and sightings. 

“I welcome the Fisheries Minister’s confirmation in Parliament today that there has been no attempt by the Barnett Government to kill sharks since December 2014 despite at least two non-fatal shark bite incidents in WA water in the intervening period and an apparently normal number of sightings and detections,” Ms MacLaren said. 

“While I do not presume that this reflects a change of heart by the Barnett Government, for whatever reason, the Government’s response to shark bite incidents in the past year has been more sensible than it was before and less driven by misconceptions around so-called ‘rogue sharks’. 

“Perhaps the Government has finally recognised that the chance of catching a particular shark responsible for a bite is extremely thin, and even if you did happen to catch that shark, there is no reason to think it was more likely than other sharks to bite again. 

“In other words, all that killing sharks achieves is a false sense of complacency that a hazard had been removed, when in fact any number of sharks could be in that area for natural reasons. 

“Western Australians overwhelmingly demonstrated in the past three years that their understanding about sharks was more sophisticated than either the Government or the popular media gave them credit for. 

“I only hope that the Barnett Government does not regress to its bad old days of killing sharks based on outdated concepts around rogue sharks and revenge; to do so would be electoral folly.”