Western Australia's shark baiting programme has drawn the ire of marine biologists, activists and local indigenous people - so how is it fairing? Living Black's Laura Murphy-Oates finds out more.
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13 Apr 2014 - 6:37 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2014 - 6:37 PM
This week the Western Australian government applied to extend the trial shark cull program until 2017.
 
The state government has applied to the commonwealth to set up 72 baited drumlines one kilometre off the metropolitan and southwest coast between November 15 and April 30 for three years, starting this year.
 
But the first season of the shark cull program has been met with widespread resistance from environmentalists, indigenous communities and marine scientists.

Andy Corbe, a marine conservationist, has been monitoring the cull program daily for the past few months.

Along with a crew of independent marine scientists, activists and concerned citizens, he follows the Fisheries Department boatt as the drum lines are pulled up and checked for sharks.
 
They note the size, breed and condition of the sharks and record it all.
 
Andy believes the drum lines are making the beaches less safe.

"By having these baits… so close, and having small sharks thrashing around, that's what's going to bring in the larger sharks from offshore," he says.
 
100+ SHARKS HOOKED
 
From January to mid-March 110 sharks were hooked on the lines.
 
Of these, 31 were destroyed and 14 were found already dead on the lines.
 
There were 105 tiger sharks caught, along with two makos, a spinner and a dusky whaler. One shark was of an undetermined species.
 
Under the policy if they're less than three metres long, they're let go, but all bull, tiger or great white sharks bigger than three metres are shot and dropped out to sea.
 
At least 50 have been killed or died on the lines.
 
Wardandi woman Mitchella Hutchins runs the Wardandi Aboriginal Centre near Yallingup- a shark attack hotspot and the home of a traditionally ocean- based Indigenous peoples.
 
She says the unnecessary destruction of the marine environment is against Wardandi cultural laws and that the local area has been united against the cull.
 
"I can honestly say for me anyway not one person that I know has been for the shark culling whether they be Indigenous or non-Indigenous," she says.
 
"For us it is one of the most sacred laws, you do not kill a creature unless you're using it to sustain your own life."
 
It's a concern echoed by one of Western Australia's top shark experts, Ryan Kempster.
 
"By removing the apex predator you have this domino effect that cascades through the ecosystem and causes many problems," he says.
 
Ryan Kempster says cull programs put in place overseas have failed in the past.

"A study done in Hawaii back in the 50's and 60's saw almost four and a half thousand sharks killed and yet didn't actually show any significant reduction in the number of attacks."
 
He says the response from the marine science community world-wide has been damning.
 
"Over a hundred scientists and shark experts in fact -all said this was not the appropriate measure to take."
 
Federal approval for the policy ends 30th of April.