CANNING MHR Andrew Hastie and Dawesville MLA Zak Kirkup have welcomed the Federal Government proposal to deploy 176 SMART (Shark Mitigation and Research Tools) drumlines off the WA coast.
But Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly says there is nothing new in the proposal, nor scientific evidence to demonstrate their effectiveness.
The proposed drumlines would cover Secret Harbour to Port Bouvard and Mr Hastie said they should be adopted by the State Government.
“In the past 25 years there have been 17 fatal shark attacks in WA, more than anywhere else in the country,’’ he said.
“The plan has a proven track record in the eastern states.”
Mr Kirkup said the State Government had a responsibility to do all it could to mitigate the risk of shark attack, particularly in Mandurah where the community was based largely around the ocean and estuary.
“With this offer from the Federal Government, there is no excuse for the Premier to sit on his hands any longer,’’ he said.
“There is too much fear in the community to ignore the use of drum lines.”
Mr Kelly said the Federal proposal acknowledged drum lines did not offer 100 per cent protection and two attacks had occurred at drumline trial locations.
He said despite the use of drumlines and nets, there had been 12 fatal shark attacks on the east coast in the past 25 years.
“Based on Mr Frydenberg’s proposal for nearly 200 drumlines, it would cost WA taxpayers at least $20 million a year if Albany and Esperance were included,’’ he said.
“If the Federal Minister really wanted to help WA he would urge his conservative New South Wales counterpart to release the information from their drumline trials, particularly what happens to sharks when they are towed out to sea.”
Mr Kelly said that in just 12 months, almost 2000 WA surfers had bought a subsidised personal shark deterrent that had been scientifically proven to be effective against great white sharks.