The Warnbro protest was one of about a dozen around Australia and New Zealand on Saturday, including a second protest in WA at Cottesloe Beach that attracted more than 6000 campaigners.
‘We remain committed to providing extra protection at some of the State’s main beaches,’ Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said.
Mr Baston repeated that the hooks 1km offshore were part of a $22 million ‘shark hazard mitigation strategy’ that included aerial patrols, research, tagging and a trial of a Coogee Beach enclosure, and cited one shark-related fatality since drum lines were deployed in Queensland in 1962.
Responding to South-West community pressure and anecdotes of increased threat after the seventh fatal attack late last year, the State Government told the Fisheries Department to set drum lines 1km off Fremantle, Cottesloe, Scarborough and northern suburbs beaches the day before the protest, when Premier Colin Barnett was in Africa for mining talks.
The cull kills bull, tiger and great white sharks longer than 3m, after the Federal Government lifted international protection for the great white two weeks ago.
After crediting the government for increased shark surveillance, tagging and research, Rockingham MLA and WA Opposition leader Mark McGowan said the $22 million mitigation strategy would be better spent preventing 46 people drowning, about 150 road deaths and about 200 suicides in WA last year, during which there had been one shark attack.