Undersized sharks caught on WA's drum lines not given best opportunity to survive
Sea Shepherd Australia in conjunction with shark researchers are calling on the Western Australian Government and the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt to revise WA's shark-bait-and-kill initiative, with a view to maximise the survival rates of undersized sharks caught on the drum lines.
The move comes after damning footage shows that undersized tiger sharks are being dumped in a state of stress and sinking to the ocean floor, without best-practise release techniques being applied.
Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia stated that the current model in Brazil, which is backed by published academic research, involves sharks being placed in a tank filled with running sea water, affording the sharks plenty of room to swim in large circles, thereby minimising stress.
"Currently the drum line initiative is overwhelmingly capturing undersized tiger sharks, which are then being dumped injured and stressed without giving the shark maximum chances of survival," Mr Hansen said.
"Shark experts have agreed that if the sharks are given the opportunity to swim after being caught, then the chances of survival are increased."
Over 100 tiger sharks have been caught on the state's drum lines since they were deployed on the 25th January this year. Recent figures released by the WA Department of Fisheries report that over 70% of the sharks caught on the drum lines are undersized which would see them being considered as a “totally protected fish” under the Fisheries Resources Management Act.
Tiger sharks are also well known for keeping our oceans healthy and have been coexisting with humans without incident in Perth's metropolitan beaches since 1968.
In addition to improving the survival rates of undersized sharks caught on the drum lines, Sea Shepherd in addition to the nosharkcull alliance are urging the State and Federal Liberal ministers to consult with the community and consider a range of alternatives to drum lines.
The alliance have been in discussions with community members within the South-West and will be supporting a community forum in Perth this Sunday, in order to encourage open dialogue about the best way to mitigate shark incidents.
"We welcome and encourage Liberal Party members to attend the forum and to open their doors in order to find an alternative solution which the majority of the community will embrace," Mr Hansen said.