Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan ill-informed about great white sharks

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan ill-informed about great white sharks, by Fred Pawle.

McGowan yesterday said that it was not the role of any government to make life entirely safe for its constituents. “The harsh reality is we live in a part of the world where there are great whites and when you go in the ocean there is a very small chance of something happening to you,” he said. “That’s something no government can ever escape from, that will always be a reality.”

This would be a noble sentiment if governments hadn’t created the “harsh reality” in the first place.

The increasing size and abundance of sharks, especially great whites, off Western Australia is the result of Australia leading the world to protect great white sharks throughout the 1990s and 2000s. It is now apparent that this decision was based on inadequate information.

Great whites were gradually protected in each state in the 1990s and then by the Commonwealth in 1999. In 2001, Australia lobbied to have the species listed with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and again successfully lobbied to have the CITES protection increased in 2004.

As revealed in The Weekend Australian, this was despite a Japanese fishing expert saying that no global assessment of the species had been conducted.

Also, as one of the co-authors of the 2002 Great White Recover Plan revealed, scientists “had no idea” about the size of the great white population at the time. …

Great white sharks: green-left bureaucracy does everything possible to not discourage them from eating us

McGowan has no idea that sharks are not migratory:

Perthnow website reported McGowan was contemplating placing warning signs at “known shark hot spots”.

“The reality is sharks are migratory,” McGowan said.

Again, McGowan might like to read the report produced by his own Department of Fisheries last year, which, after conducting one of the biggest shark tagging and tracking projects in history found that great white movements are “highly variable” and “not consistent”. Similarly, NSW Department of Primary Industries shark expert Vic Peddemors said last year that sharks are like “a bag of dropped marbles — they go everywhere”.

As such, the existence of “shark hot spots” is unlikely.

And no idea of what demonstrably works works — in Queensland:

McGowan said he would not “go down the culling route because it was tried and didn’t work”. Statistics from Queensland, where the culling methods of nets and drumlines have been in place for 50 years, suggest otherwise. Queensland has had only one fatal attack at a protected beach.

He accepts “scientific” advice, not realizing that it is just whatever the bureaucracy wants him to hear because the science advice is funded by bureaucrats — and they only fund “experts” who agree with them:

McGowan accepted scientific advice that there “hasn’t been a great increase” in the abundance of lethal sharks. “I’m not an expert, I’ll accept the advice of the scientists,” he told Perthnow.

Given the track record of the most influential scientists on this matter, and the increasing toll of shark attacks in Australia, McGowan should exercise more scepticism before accepting advice that does little or nothing to solve the problem.