Culling not the solution: MLC

Liberal MLC Phil Edman reckons killing a few sharks will not fix the problem.
Liberal MLC Phil Edman reckons killing a few sharks will not fix the problem.

The South Metropolitan Region MLC told the Courier electronic shark deterrents such as Shark Shield would save more lives than the planned baited drum lines soon to be deployed by the Government at several metropolitan beaches.

While no drum lines will be placed at local beaches, the region does fall under the metropolitan shark kill zone.

Mr Edman said the Government had to do something after several recent shark attacks, but water users needed to take more responsibility for their own safety.

‘The Government had to do something, they feel obliged to do something, the people of WA probably want them to do something,’ he said.

‘I don’t think killing a few sharks will fix the problem.’

Mr Edman said surfers and divers especially needed to reduce their own risk of attack by wearing shark deterrents.

‘People need to act responsibly for themselves, if they are going to go surfing or diving, (they should) wear a deterrent,’ he said.

‘Those people diving and surfing are most at risk of shark attack and are not going to be doing (those activities) where culling or helicopter patrols are taking place.’

Mr Edman said he had dived off Rockingham for 14 years, and had dived with sharks in South Africa and South Australia.

He said once the shark mitigation policy came into effect there was no guarantee it would decrease the chance of an attack on a beachgoer.

‘I think if the people of WA think those baited drum lines will make them safer from attacks in the water, they are getting the wrong message,’ he said.

‘Humans are land animals. We are able to control the land, but we’ll never be able to control the ocean.’

While he conceded he did not know why there had been a spike in shark attacks in recent years, Mr Edman said there were noticeable changes in the environment in local waters like the Cockburn Sound.

‘We had a whale shark in Cockburn Sound last year. They are from Exmouth, a long way away, something has changed for that to happen,’ he said.

‘I think when the plates shifted and caused the massive tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand in 2004, something changed in the ocean.’

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