No hooks insounds

Contracts for deployment of drum lines are expected to be awarded as part of the Government’s controversial ‘shark hazard mitigation policy’ after a delay in the tender process this week.

Baited drum lines will be deployed at five metropolitan beach locales: Ocean Reef and Mullaloo, Trigg and Scarborough, Floreat and City Beach, Cottesloe and North Cottesloe and Port and Leighton beaches.

No drum lines will be placed at any beaches in Rockingham or Kwin-ana, despite two shark attacks in the past five years, including a fatal attack on Brian Guest (51) in Warnbro Sound.

The decision is likely to be welcomed by many in the community opposed to the baiting and killing of sharks over 3m.

A spokesman for Department of Premier and Cabinet told the Courier the Government had identified five ‘Marine Monitored Areas’ where the drum lines will be deployed about 1km off shore.

‘While Cockburn and Warnbro sounds will not have drum lines deployed this summer, they will still have aerial surveillance provided by the Surf Life Saving WA helicopter, which extends daily from Fremantle to Mandurah,’ he said.

The spokesman said the five beaches that will have drum lines were selected in consultation with Department of Fisheries and Surf Life Saving WA based on the popularity of the beach, records of significant number of shark sightings and coverage by life savers.

He said while shark numbers did increase during snapper spawning in Cockburn Sound, that was during September-October when there were few swimmers in the water.

The spokesman said while no drum lines would be placed in the sounds this summer, it would not rule out deployment in future.

Greens South Metropolitan Region MLC Lynn MacLaren said the policy was an ‘indiscriminate cull’.

‘Drum lines in particular will not only kill the great white shark but numerous other marine species, ranging from dolphins to turtles and smaller sharks,’ she said.

Last month, Opposition Leader and Rockingham MLA Mark McGowan said he supported increased satellite monitoring of sharks but was ‘very sceptical’ of drum lines.

Liberal MLC Phil Edman broke ranks with his cabinet colleagues in not supporting culling.