EPA finds no drumline concerns

17/01/2019 - 15:37

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A drumline trial set to control and monitor great white shark numbers off Western Australia’s south west coast is set to go ahead, after the Environmental Protection Authority found no concerns.

The drumlines will be set up along a 11.5km stretch of coast off Gracetown.

A drumline trial set to control and monitor great white shark numbers off Western Australia’s south west coast is set to go ahead, after the Environmental Protection Authority found no concerns.

The planned trial has been mired in controversy after Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly, who was sceptical of the proposal, came under fire for referring it to the EPA on December 21 in a move that could have delayed the measure until next summer.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s proposal will involve ten SMART drumlines be set and retrieved daily about 500 metres offshore along an 11.5 kilometre stretch of coast off Gracetown.

EPA chair Tom Hatton said the short duration of the trial and the restricted geographic footprint limited the potential extent of environmental impact on marine animal populations and habitat.

“The low likelihood of impact on the population of white sharks and other non-target marine species because of the non-lethal measures to be implemented is a key aspect of the trial,” Mr Hatton said.

“Information made available from the New South Wales SMART drumline program about shark survival rates and experience gained from shark handling procedures from DPIRD provided further reassurance of minimal environmental impact.

“The EPA also supports the ongoing commitment to review and consult with the Ministerial Reference Group and the Chief Scientist of WA, and recommends that the findings of the regular progress reports are made publicly available as soon as possible.”

The EPA received 99 comments during the seven-day public comment period earlier this month, which it said it considered as part of its determination.

The EPA’s determination is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing January 31.

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