No public benefit but heavy environmental cost to shark cull

OPPOSITION to any attempt to kill the shark responsible for this week's fatal attack at Byron Bay has found more solid ground after an official recommendation to scrap WA's culling program.

While there have been no serious suggestions the shark would be culled, neither was it ruled out as a way of removing any potential threat it posed to other people at Byron Bay.

However, Western Australia's Environmental Protection Authority has now recommended that state's government abandon its program to cull sharks.

The recommendation has been welcomed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, which attacked the WA shark cull as 'a flawed policy".

"The shark cull policy was flawed from the get go, with no clear public safety outcomes but with a heavy environmental cost," society marine campaigner Tooni Mahto said. 

"The WA Government has now been told in no uncertain terms to dump it's lethal policy and work with viable alternatives."

Ms Mahto said the money invested in the cull would be better spent on early detection, better surveillance, "non-lethal" barriers, and public education.

"Many of these methods improve our knowledge of sharks, and since so many shark species are under threat, findings aid in conservation efforts as well," she said.

"We are relieved the decision by the EPA will allow sharks to remain naturally in their environment without the additional threat of being caught on a hook.

"We call on the WA Environment Minister and the Federal Environment Minister to follow the EPA recommendations, listen to the public and independent scientists and agree to not continue with the cull."



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