March 7, 2018

Kelly’s rejection of SMART Drumlines is just dumb

Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly is putting politics ahead of protecting beach-goers with his latest outburst attacking Liberal members over their support for additional measures to reduce the risk of shark attacks.

Shadow Minister for Tourism Libby Mettam said the Minister’s singular focus on providing a subsidy to a select few for a repellent device that many simply can’t afford ignored the need to ensure the safety of all beachgoers.

“The Minister’s assertion that the Liberals are putting lives at risk is puerile rubbish,” Ms Mettam said.

“We have never argued with the technology; we are just saying it is an insufficient measure to protect all beachgoers.

“The Minister’s only policy is to protect those few people who can afford a particular deterrent and one which is not favoured by surfers.”

Ms Mettam said the Minister should immediately consider the use of SMART drumlines along the WA coast as a safe and effective mitigation strategy following the success of trials in NSW.

“Evidence at a Senate Estimates committee last week from the Federal Department of Environment and Energy highlighted the success of the SMART Drumline trials and their positive impact on shark behaviour,” Ms Mettam said.

“SMART drumlines are different to the traditional drumlines in that once sharks are caught on a SMART Drumline an alert is sent to authorities after which the shark is tagged for future monitoring and research and then released.

“Scientists monitoring the behaviour of these tagged sharks report that once they have an encounter with a SMART Drumline and are released, the sharks do not come back.

“Mr Kelly said previously he would look at any new measures that are proven to actually make our beaches safer – now is his opportunity to prove he is true to his word and implement a similar SMART Drumline trial in WA.

“The Minister needs to stop playing politics with this very serious issue, pull his head out of the sand, look at the facts and do more to protect beach-goers. This should start with an immediate trial of SMART Drumlines.

“His playing politics does not protect beachgoers.”

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