Opponents of the West Australian government’s shark killing program have responded angrily to the first slaughter in the state’s waters with a mass protest planned for the weekend.
It is the first shark to be caught under the State Government’s new catch and kill policy, which was announced following seven fatal attacks off the WA coast in three years.
The shark was caught on baited drum lines which were set off WA’s south west coast yesterday as the fishermen contracted to carry out the work shot the animal and are now disposing of it.
The fisherman was reportedly seen off Old Dunsborough on Sunday morning shooting a large shark that had been caught in the lines and towing it further out to sea. The shark is more than three metres long however its species has not yet been confirmed.
The lines were set up on Saturday afternoon.
A mass Australia/New Zealand rally is planned for this Saturday with thousands expected to turn out to protest against the policy.
Organiser of the main Cottesloe Beach protest, Natalie Banks says at least 4000 people ere expected. At the 11 other national and New Zealand protests thousands more are set to turn out.
This follows a previous protest attended by thousands in the first week of January which was unsuccessful in reversing the decision to go ahead with the cull. Activists have also pledged to interfere with the program.
However, since the start of the month and the first shark death, the momentum behind the protest, particularly under the hashtag #noWASharkcull has grown.
— Emma Faulkner (@q_EJF_p) January 26, 2014
Banks said the cull was equivalent to “murder paid for by the WA Government”.
“It is important that the voices of the thousands of of participants at the upcoming rallies are heard and that more people are made aware of the fact that the WA Government is paying for a contractor to kill a threatened species which is a contradiction of the Environment and Biodiversity Conservation Act,” Ms Banks told the New Daily.
She said the “majority of people” were against this WA initiative and are calling for it to immediately cease and for the Premier, Colin Barnett to prevent it from being introduced into the metropolitan areas of Perth.
Saturday’s protests will be an attempt to prevent roll out of drum lines in metro areas, and potentially reversing the move in south-western part of the state.
“There is a lot of disgust and horror over what is happening, particularly with the tiger shark that was caught yesterday,” Ms Banks said.
“I think what has happened has woken a few people up to what this policy actually means – sharks are being killed and the footage that has gone with that has opened the eyes of the public.”
American wildlife ecologist David Steen decried the policy, which was was instituted in response to the seventh fatal shark attack in WA waters in three years, as a “shameful, archaic attempt to pre-emptively reduce conflict with people”.
“So sad” and “shame”, others wrote on social media.
— Joe Grabowski (@GrabowskiScuba) January 26, 2014
To all sharks on Twitter: I hope you learn your lesson from this WA shark cull! Stay away!
— Andrew Hansen (@andrewjhansen) January 26, 2014
Sea Shepherd’s Jeff Hansen said the shark was “believed to be a beautiful tiger shark” more than three metres long.
“Can we expect (WA Premier) Colin Barnett to be sporting one of those Mick Dundee hats but with shark’s instead of croc teeth soon?” the WA opposition’s Paul Papalia tweeted.
The controversial program went ahead after federal environment minister Greg Hunt granted WA an exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, allowing the protected great white shark to be killed.
— Emma L Johnston (@DrEmmaLJohnston) January 26, 2014
In a notice to mariners warning of navigational hazards, the WA government said drum lines would soon be deployed in metropolitan waters, extending from Quinns Rock Beach to Warnbro beach.
It has been forced to rope in its own Department of Fisheries officers to do the work after commercial operators pulled out following threats from activists.
The lines, which are attached to floating boys, bear the warning: “No vessel is to approach, moor to or interfere with the above equipment at any time – modified penalties will apply.”