Western Australia shark cull blocked

Sep 12, 2014, 7:36 AM EDT
Protestors show their support during a shark-culling policy protest at Cottesloe Beach on February 1, 2014 in Perth, Australia.
AFP/Getty Images

Western Australia's shark cull is to be halted after the state's environmental regulator advised against it. The BBC writes:

Earlier this year, baited traps known as drum lines were set up as a trial along seven beaches to catch sharks, after a series of fatal attacks. But the policy was controversial, with critics arguing it could damage the marine ecosystem.

The regulator cited "a high degree of scientific uncertainty" about the impact on the white shark population. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it had weighed the potential impact of the plan against the need to maintain "the diversity, geographic distribution and viability" of marine life. It made particular reference to the white shark, because it is listed as a "vulnerable" species.

Experts consulted by the EPA said there was "too much uncertainty in the available information and evidence about the south-western white shark population, population trends and the bycatch from commercial fisheries".

"In view of these uncertainties, the EPA has adopted a cautious approach by recommending against the proposal," EPA Chairman Dr Paul Vogel said.

The state government had sought to continue the programme each summer for three more years.