The Australian Greens said today that the Federal Environment Department had washed its hands of responsibility for WA's shark cull and won't be reviewing the exemption from the EPBC Act, despite the significant number of small sharks being caught.
"In the last few days we've seen horrific video from the South West showing cruel handling of sharks and the damage the hooks being used can do," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.
"This policy is indiscriminately killing sharks. Its implementation is breaching conditions the WA Government put on itself and yet still the federal department will not act.
"In Senate Estimates, the department have said they will not be stepping in to revoke the exemption despite the high number of small sharks being taken and that fact that some are suffering terrible injuries in the process.
"The WA Government undertook to use hooks on drum lines that would limit the by-catch of small sharks. This isn't working, and it is the Environment Department's position that because the animals being affected are tiger sharks, not white sharks, they're in no place to review the exemption to the EPBC Act.
"Colin Barnett is clearly failing to meet his obligations, but nothing is being done.
"The Department should have put significantly tougher monitoring and accountability measures in place to ensure that sharks were not harmed unnecessarily. They didn't even consider the use of circle hooks, as used in Brazil's non-lethal catch and release shark policy, nor have they insisted on a transparent reporting process.
"Large numbers of sharks have been caught to date. If this cull continues for another two months, that number will increase significantly," Senator Siewert concluded.