I believe that I want what everyone else wants for 2015; a reduction of great white incidents in Western Australia. I also believe that something has to be done to reduce the risk in Western Australia. What I witnessed last weekend at Warnbro, with the implementation of the new "serious threat" policy however, is not the answer to this issue. Not only did the WA Government's attempts to kill this shark fail, but taxpayers are being slugged the cost; twice. First, the cost to tag the white shark in order to further understand the behavior of white sharks in WA and then the costs to run a Fisheries vessel and pay weekend rates for crew who would otherwise be out ensuring that fish catches meet legal requirements.
Western Australians are copping the raw end of the deal in terms of Premier Colin Barnett's bloodlust to kill protected marine life and we are none the safer for it. The money spent on the weekend's expedition could have easily been spent on installing a barrier in the area to keep swimmers safe or if you prefer, increased patrols in the area. One doesn't have to be a scientist or even the Science Minister to see that there are better ways to manage the very minuscule risk of a shark incident in our state. But alas, the WA Government (which has already been proven to be motivated to kill marine life without due consideration of the environmental impacts) has decided to rewrite its imminent threat policy and roll it out as a serious threat policy, whereby it can investigate, police, prosecute, judge and execute without any oversight – and we should be alarmed. Regardless of your position on this issue, when national and international laws can be lifted and ignored so easily to suit a particular governmental agenda, warning bells should be ringing. One day, it wont just be about sharks, but another animal which you love. Moreover, when the Science Minister ignores the scientific community and acts on fear and irrationality we should all be alarmed.