The Greens call on all levels of government, especially the South Australian Government, to do more to help ocean goers reduce the risk of rare, but potentially dangerous encounters with great white sharks this summer by following the lead of the Western Australian Government in subsidising the rollout of personal shark deterrent devices.
The call comes ahead of White Sharks Global, an international conference held in Port Lincoln this week. White shark experts from around the globe will gather to discuss issues such as white shark conservation, research on population numbers, and how to measure and reduce the risks of human and white shark encounters.
Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson – who chaired a landmark 2017 Senate inquiry into mitigating the risks of shark bites in Australia – will today be a keynote speaker at the timely conference.
Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for healthy oceans, Senator Whish-Wilson:
“The recent spate of white shark encounters in South Australia, and the risk of further rare but tragic and traumatic encounters this summer, will inevitably lead to populist un-scientific calls to cull and reduce white shark populations.
“In response to the tragic death of surfer Tod Gendle at Streaky Bay the South Australian Premier recently stated there isn’t much a government can do to help prevent such tragedies, but this is wrong.
“The Senate inquiry into shark mitigation and deterrent measures recommended all states follow the lead of the Western Australian government and subsidise scientifically tested and proven shark mitigation devices, but so far no other state has taken this easy-to-implement measure.
“So far the WA government has subsidised more than 4000 personal shark deterrent devices for ocean goers, in an attempt to see them more widely adopted by surfers, divers and swimmers.
“There are many simple options to reduce risks at our popular beaches and surf spots and I urge Premier Malinauskas to listen to the advice of experts and roll out these measures.
“The ocean is not a risk free environment, and while there are no guarantees any public safety measure will be 100% effective, such measures can significantly reduce the risk of human-shark encounters.
“Scientific research and tests on some personal shark deterrent devices have shown that they can reduce the risk of white and other shark species encounters by more than 60%.
“But it shouldn’t just be up to the states, the Federal Government also has a significant role in coordinating, standardising and driving national investment in research and adoption of emerging shark risk mitigation measures to protect ocean goers.
“Safety in our oceans and the protection of vulnerable species, such as white sharks, aren’t binary options, both are possible and can be done much more effectively.”