The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for the Environment
Shark Mitigation to undergo full assessment
5 March 2014
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The Federal Government will require the West Australian Government to undertake a full environmental assessment of Western Australia's Shark Mitigation Strategy.
In response to a request from the West Australian Government to extend the current operation, I have reiterated that the scheme requires a full assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The current operations can continue until April 30.
However, as I have previously informed the West Australian Government on making the original decision, there would be no further extension without a full assessment.
Western Australia will need to refer the program for assessment under national environment law. We will work co-operatively with the West Australian Government through this process.
I recognise the importance of human safety, as was the case for the original exemption to allow limited actions to protect swimmers following the recent increase in shark attacks, in two small areas of an over 12,500 kilometre coastline.
Importantly, the issue has highlighted the need for further research into the shark population off the Australian coast.
To support this, the Federal Government is committing $379,000 for research into the white shark population. It will aim to locate juvenile and nursery aggregation areas to enable genetic and electronic tagging to build a greater profile of the population and trends.