Shark kill policy to go on, despite threat

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Threats to the safety of fishermen being paid to kill sharks for the West Australian government has forced Premier Colin Barnett to order his own Fisheries officers to carry out the controversial catch and kill policy instead.


The anger against the WA government’s creation of a 1km kill zone full of baited hooks off the coast has become so heated that personal threats have been made towards Fisheries Minister Ken Baston, and the firms who tendered for the right to patrol as government “shark sheriffs”.

The threats were deemed so serious the firm that won the contract to monitor Perth beaches has pulled out and WA police have been informed.

Mr Baston confirmed on Monday that a government boat staffed with Fisheries officers will do the job instead, to begin within weeks.

“That particular tender pulled out because of the worry of threats to him and his family, so now we will use the Department of Fisheries to have a boat available and so we are putting that together,” Mr Baston said.

“I would say that will happen within a matter of weeks.

“Everyone is entitled to peaceful action, but when people make personal threats on people’s lives then that is appalling, and that is a police matter.”

The other potential fishermen who applied for the contract were not successful, and would not be offered the contract, Mr Baston said.

Despite the threats, he said fisheries officials were happy to do the work.

“Anyone is worried about a security threat, and of course everyone is taking it seriously,” Mr Baston said.

The WA shark policy has prompted a furious reaction from environmental activists, who have said they will take direct action against the drumlines, and those who operate them.

Activist Simon Peterffy denied any threats had been made by those in his Marine Response Unit organisation.

“The government has no-one to put these drumlines out in the water for them,” Mr Peterffy said.

“These campaigns have scared these fishermen, and they don’t want to be seen culling these marine animals.”

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