Has the Dept of Fisheries’ shark cull program been a success?

I listened to an interesting program on the radio this week about the Western Australia’s Department of Fisheries’ infamous shark cull program. The mitigation program ended on April 30 and they are planning to resume from November 23rd, to coincide with popular swimming season.

 

What sparked the implementation of the mitigation program? There had been a recent apparent increase in shark attacks on swimmers/divers by the great white sharks. But how do you kill such sharks are a protected species worldwide (including all other states in Australia)? The Minister of Fisheries sought exemption, based on the premise that they are a danger to society. The mitigation program involved putting out boats and jet skis, and helicopter surveillance at the popular swimming spots. Additionally, baited drum lines are placed approximately 1km from the shores in these areas to capture sharks that pose imminent danger to humans. These drum lines were checked from sunrise to sun down. They would release any fish caught that are less than 3m, and kill any larger than 3m.

 

So, has it been a success? According to reports, 172 sharks were caught, the majority being tiger sharks. None were the great whites.

 

So, I ask again, has it been a success? Should it be repeated?

 

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3 thoughts on “Has the Dept of Fisheries’ shark cull program been a success?

  1. Greetings. I know someone who works in fisheries and the unpublished info on the lack of GWS capture is they (the shark) have bent the hooks and broken off the capture apparatus. I don’t agree with the policy however Perth and WA relies on tourism and with it taking a dive due to many shark fatalities I understand the politicians need to be “seen to taking action to protect the public “. It’s a shame some kind of underwater sonar pulse can’t be used to repel them from popular beaches. Also keep in mind the ocean lovers and science community protest but go ask the ‘regular bogan ‘ and they seem to agree and support it. Can’t please everyone all the time….

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    1. I’ve to admit that I’ve not met a supporter of the cull… but this might be reflect my social circles. I’ve heard they discovered their hooks couldn’t hold their targeted great white shark. So why didn’t they design a better capture apparatus? Seems like the program was doomed from the start.

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  2. Early days yet..
    When I was on the various Australian white shark committees in the 1990s we basically predicted what is happening now in the Perth area would happen. Quod Erat Demonstrandem.
    As for the lack of whites on the drum lines that could well be due to the pussy foot approach the Department was forced into rather than a more rational approach to the problem.
    Qld Shark Control showed with decades of data that white shark catch in nets to drum lines was basically 1:1 but only after significant enhancements were made to drum line gear. Dispensing with the weak 3/8″ stainless steel cable (I kiddeth not) with anchor chain links and using very specific hooks was important to actually get whites instead of everything else.
    What the white shark feeding strategy is off Perth with seals could be quite different to the feeding strategy of whites off Queensland latitudes 28 to 19 degrees South where seals were nowhere to be seen nor eaten and where fish baits shown a degree of success.
    A totally scientifically and logical locaised shark redaction policy simply hasnt happened yet but that is not due to inability on the behalf of WA Fisheries.
    One question that has to be asked is why the differential hullabaloo with highly restricted shark fishing operations that will not impact an increasing population when basically nothing is said for comparable situations with crocodiles in northern waters. The hypocrisy is evident.
    Put simply the problem still remains while the solution is hampered by armchair pontificators.
    Geoff McPherson

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