Western Australia’s environmental agency has received a record number of public comments about the state’s contentious catch-and-kill shark policy.
Under the summer trial running until April 30, all great white, tiger and bull sharks longer than three metres that are caught on drum lines off the Perth and South West coasts are being shot dead and discarded at sea.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) said the community submitted more than 10,000 comments about the program to its consultation hub.
“This is the highest number of public comments received on the hub,” a spokeswoman told AAP.
“Approximately 450 emails on the issue – about half of which are pro forma – have also been sent to the EPA.
“In addition, the Conservation Council has to date forwarded to the EPA approximately 13,000 comments, a number of which duplicate those submitted through the EPA process.”
The state government revealed on Tuesday that 17 tiger sharks had been killed since the drum lines were set in the South West region on January 25 and in metropolitan waters on February 1.
Opposition fisheries spokesman Dave Kelly said: “This is unacceptable, especially when tiger sharks, according to the state government’s own web site, have being responsible for only one bite since 1980.”
The figures also showed two mako sharks were pulled up dead.
Celebrities continue to take aim at the state government for the policy, the latest being the host of TV show River Monsters, Jeremy Wade, who said people needed to take responsibility for their own safety.