Repeal the "Imminent Threat Policy" in Western Australia

The “Imminent Threat Policy” has been shown to be an ineffective solution to preventing shark attacks off our shores.

The Imminent Threat Policy involves using baited drum lines to attract and kill sharks. However research shows that this approach is the worst possible solution as it lures the sharks and indiscriminately kills any species unfortunate enough to take the bait, including seals, endangered sea turtles, and dolphins as well as other species of predators. More importantly is the fact they also draw sharks into these regions and thus increase shark congregations and frequency of incidents rather than decreasing them.

The Imminent Threat policy is also a violation of Australia’s stance on the white shark protection. It violates 11 different UN laws, conventions and treaties.

The Bond University study carried out with funding allocated for the W.A shark mitigation strategy titled  ‘The likely effectiveness of netting or other capture programs as a shark hazard mitigation strategy in Western Australia’, advised against the use of these drum lines and pointed to alternative measures such as ocean pools ,citing high by-catch and a lack of effectiveness. It is also a prerequisite that beaches be vacated and closed under the imminent threat policy guidelines before carrying out a ‘kill order’.

We encourage Minister Buswell as the recently appointed Minister for Fisheries to consider repealing this policy and replacing it with a more effective solution.  We would also ask him to remember that many of these sharks are IUCN Protected, Vulnerable, endangered and even critically endangered species.

Shark experts have identified that education is the best solution to preventing further shark attacks. Public shark education programmes are inexpensive and effective and can be as simple as informing the public of basic safety tips and precautions. For example, making people aware of the safest times to swim and not to swim as sharks have particular feeding times. There have also been some developments/ safety mechanisms released and these offer alternatives. Those being the Shark deterrent wetsuit developed by UWA. Shark Shield deterrents, which emit an electrical frequency which deters sharks. Also the Eco-shark barrier trialled at Coogee Beach.

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Hon. Troy Buswell MLA
Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Fisheries
13th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
WEST PERTH WA


HON. TROY BUSWELL MLA
TREASURER; MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT; FISHERIES


Dear Minister Buswell,


I am writing to you to express my concern about the Western Australian State Government’s “Imminent Threat Policy”.


I am strongly against this policy as it has been shown to be an ineffective solution to preventing shark attacks off our shores.


As you would be aware the Imminent Threat Policy involves using baited drum lines to attract and kill sharks. However research shows that this approach is the worst possible solution as it lures the sharks and indiscriminately kills any species unfortunate enough to take the bait, including seals, endangered sea turtles, and dolphins as well as other species of predators. More importantly is the fact they also draw sharks into these regions and thus increase shark congregations and frequency of incidents rather than decreasing them. The Bond University study carried out with funding allocated for the W.A shark mitigation strategy titled  ‘The likely effectiveness of netting or other capture programs as a shark hazard mitigation strategy in Western Australia’, advised against the use of these drum lines and pointed to alternative measures such as ocean pools ,citing high by-catch and a lack of effectiveness. It is also a prerequisite that beaches be vacated and closed under the imminent threat policy guidelines before carrying out a ‘kill order’. It is the opinion of myself, many other concerned members of the W.A public ,and the international conservation  community that this policy should be repealed as there indeed can be no  ‘Imminent Threat’ on an vacated beach or coastline.


The Imminent Threat policy is also a violation of Australia’s stance on the white shark protection. It violates 11 different UN laws, conventions and treaties.


I encourage you as the recently appointed Minister for Fisheries to consider repealing this policy and replacing it with a more effective solution.  I would also ask you to remember that many of these sharks are IUCN Protected, Vulnerable, endangered and even critically endangered species.


Shark experts have identified that education is the best solution to preventing further shark attacks. Public shark education programmes are inexpensive and effective and can be as simple as informing the public of basic safety tips and precautions. For example, making people aware of the safest times to swim and not to swim as sharks have particular feeding times. 


I support Western Australians for Shark Conservation (WASC) in their efforts to bring an end to this policy.


I hope you can take this information on board and I look forward to hearing your response. 


Yours sincerely,


[insert name here]



































































































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