Warning: a graphic image is featured below.
Recently, the Western Australian's Environmental Protection Authority stated that the state's proposed drum line policy would have an uncertain impact on the marine environment and recommended that the program ceases. Based on this recommendation, the state and federal environmental ministers were required to make a final decision on the program. However, at the last hour (no doubt after robust conversations between WA and the federal departments), the Western Australian government withdrew its application to have the program considered.
The public would learn hours afterwards, that the main reason that the application was withdrawn, was because a closed-door agreement had been reached to allow the Western Australian government to exclusively catch and kill protected and vulnerable shark species as part of an imminent threat policy without federal oversight.
What defines an imminent threat though is yet to be defined, however, based on previous guidelines, the policy can be used when a shark is sighted near the shore or after a human-shark incident; whether it be a shark bite or a shark bite fatality. To do this, the federal government has had to provide the Western Australian government an exemption to catch and kill great white sharks. This exemption is provided due to it being in Australia's "national interests" despite a year old White Shark Recovery Plan in place.
In what can only be described as a trying to have their cake and eat it too, the federal government has ignored the reasons for having the 2013 White Shark Recovery Plan which largely revolves around declining populations due to low levels of reproduction and significant pressure from the Australian commercial fishing industry.
It has instead said, that despite the fact that there are only approximately 700 breeding individual Great White sharks in the southwest and an estimated 100 great white sharks caught per year through commercial fishing, it is in Australia's national interests to kill more, knowing that shark control activities are one of the top two reasons for the great white's decline. But what has been conveniently left out of this debate is why it is in Australia's national interests to protect the great white shark.