The Fisheries Department has authority to kill protected shark species if imminent risk

Sharks that pose an imminent risk will be killed.
Sharks that pose an imminent risk will be killed.

THE State Government now has the authority to kill protected shark species without an attack occurring, if the shark is deemed to pose an imminent risk.

It reached an agreement with the Commonwealth Government last week for fisheries vessels to be deployed, drum lines laid and sharks killed without having to seek permission first, if there was an ‘imminent threat’. Premier Colin Barnett said it would allow a faster response to a threat or after an attack.

‘This approach strikes the necessary balance between protecting public safety and protecting our environment,’ Mr Barnett said. ‘The Federal and State governments will work together so that the State Government can take appropriate action to protect public safety when there is an imminent threat from a shark, as was the case in the recent attack in Esperance.’

Mr Barnett confirmed the State Government had withdrawn its application for Commonwealth approval of its drum line program after recommendations from the WA Environmental Protection Authority.

The announcement comes after evidence of a butchered shark was found at Cottesloe Beach on October 18.

A Fisheries spokeswoman said they could not tell the species of shark from the fins left on Cottesloe groyne, but experts believed it could be a hammerhead or whaler.