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Greens call on Environment Minister to revoke exemption for WA shark cull

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 11 Feb 2014

The Australian Greens have called for Environment Minister Greg Hunt to revoke the exemption that is allowing the WA shark cull to go ahead.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson will tonight address the Senate on the catch and kill policy, and will move a motion tomorrow that condemns the cull and calls on Minister Hunt to revoke the exemption.

"These drum lines are cruel and indiscriminate. The number of undersized sharks being caught shows how much damage they can cause. This is a flawed policy and it should be abandoned," Senator Siewert said today.

"The WA Government is breaching the conditions set when the exemption to the EPCB Act were granted.

"Paragraph 17 of the exemption identified the WA Government's commitment to reduce any environmental impact by ensuring ‘the use of a large hook size on the baited drum lines reducing the chance of small shark by-catch'.

"Minister Hunt's letter to Premier Colin Barnett also states that a failure to abide by paragraph 17 will give cause for ‘review or possible revocation of the exemption'.

"The WA Government is clearly failing to meet this condition, given the high proportion of undersized sharks that are being caught.

"I have introduced a motion to the Senate, calling for the Environment Minister to revoke the exemption.

"From media reports and social media commentary, it is thought that at least 36 sharks have been caught since the drum lines were set up, 32 of which were smaller than this 3 metre size limit. The state government remains unwilling to reveal the number or type of sharks being caught.

"We don't know how many of these undersized sharks are dying once they are released. Reports of mauling by other sharks, along with the damage done by the hook means that animals could be seriously harmed.

"The WA Government's catch and kill policy has been publicly condemned and condemned by scientists. The Environment Minister needs to revoke this exemption immediately," Senator Siewert concluded.

 

Minister Hunt's exemption letter is available online: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/notices/exemptions.html

Motion Text

I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I will move that:

The Senate notes that:

a) The Minister for the Environment has granted an exemption to Western Australia under section 158 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) to all of the provisions of part 3 of the act to allow the setup of baited drum lines off sections of the West Australian coast with the intent to catch and kill: great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks over three meters.
b) The Western Australian Government has broken its commitment to minimising the environmental impact as indicated in paragraph 17 of the exemption that "the use of a large hook size on the baited drum lines reducing the chance of small shark by-catch"
c) There is a lack of public reporting by the Western Australian Government on the number of sharks and other marine life, caught, killed and released.

d) Communities and Surf Life Saving WA indicate that at least 36 sharks have been caught since the drum lines were set up, 32 of which were smaller than 3m, contravening clause 17 of the exemption.
e) As stated in paragraph 23 failure to abide by terms set out in paragraph 17 will give cause for review and possible revocation of the exemption.

The Senate:

1. Condemn the Catch and Kill Shark Policy of the Western Australian Government.
2. Calls on the Minister for the Environment to revoke the exemption made to the Western Australian Government under section 158 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

 

 

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