12th March, 2014 -Shark cullIn a disappointing result, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) of Western Australia has ruled out assessing the state’s controversial shark cull, saying it poses a negligible risk to the species.

The EPA was called on to review the policy and rule whether it was environmentally acceptable; they received 23,000 submissions during a public consultation which ended last month.

However, EPA chairman Paul Vogel today told the ABC he has decided not to intervene.

Read the EPA’s announcement (PDF)

Since the Shark cull began in January, 104 sharks – only 30 of them more than three metres in length - have been caught on the drum lines. However, Sea Shepherd estimates that by the end of the three-month trial period, in excess of 140 Tiger Sharks will have been killed as a result of the drum line program.

Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director Jeff Hansen stated, “Given that Tiger Sharks only have their pups every three years and few survive to adulthood, how can 30 breeding-sized Tiger Sharks being shot and killed by this cull program not have a significant impact on the recovery of this protected species? How can this be of negligible risk to these Sharks?”

The actions of the EPA are sending a false message to the world that Sharks are not important to the health of our oceans, and that removing them, especially the breeding stock, has no impact on the state of our precious marine ecosystems.

Sea Shepherd is calling on the WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob, as a matter of urgency, to request a strategic review from the EPA so that this matter can be properly assessed.

The Federal Environment Minister has denied a request for an extension of the drum lines program before a full environmental assessment is carried out. This decision by the WA EPA does not reflect the thinking of the Federal Environment Minister.

Sea Shepherd will be appealing this decision by the EPA and we urge everyone to do the same. Appeals close March 26 2014 and can be made at www.appealsconvenor.wa.gov.au