The Australian Greens have called on the Environment Minister Greg Hunt to intervene in the WA shark cull and invoke his commitment that any breach of conditions will result in the EPBC exemption being terminated.
"Mr Hunt has said in a letter to me that he would terminate the exemption granted to WA if there were breaches. He should do that now," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"The cull is having a significant and unintended impact on small and protected sharks, in breach of the conditions set out by the exemption.
"Despite being told in estimates that the Federal Government has no further involvement with the cull now that the exemption has been granted, Minister Greg Hunt's comments in his letter means that it is within his powers to re-examine and terminate it if conditions are not met.
"The Premier made a commitment to ‘minimising the environmental impact from the proposed drum line deployment'. This is clearly not happening.
"A significant number of small sharks are being caught on the drum lines, and at least two protected mako sharks have died as a result of the cull. The department has confirmed that they are directly responsible for species listed under the EPBC Act. Mako sharks are listed as a protected migratory species. This alone should give cause for Ministerial intervention.
"To compound matters further, there are reports that hooks have been damaged by sharks as they have fought to escape from the drum lines. We have no way of knowing what type of sharks these were or whether they were injured, but that seems highly likely given the force that would be required.
"It is obvious that though approved hooks are being used, small sharks are still being caught, maimed and killed, while larger sharks could be causing themselves significant injuries as they fight to escape.
"It is very disappointing that members of the public and community organisations are being forced to step in and take legal action against the cull, while the federal government sits back and refuses to hold the Premier to account.
"Under these circumstances, the Minister must step in and investigate and consider revoking WA's exemption," Senator Siewert concluded.