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Shark nets killing machines: WA premier

AAP logoAAP 29/09/2016 Rebecca Gredley

The WA premier has described shark nets as "killing machines", saying that his government does not favour their use.

"They don't enclose the bay, they don't create a safe swimming area, they just simply kill marine life," he told ABC radio.

"They certainly kill sharks, but they also kill dolphins and turtles."

Mr Barnett said the government will continue to use nets that create swimming enclosures, which create enclosed swimming area but do not catch marine life.

Federal Liberal MP for Canning Andrew Hastings has called for shark nets to be used in WA as an option to keep swimmers and surfers safe, after a 17-year-old was mauled by a shark in NSW.

"Given the increase of great white shark attacks in WA over the last 10-15 years, I think it's high time we considered netting and other options as a way of preserving human life," he said.

Two West Australians were fatally attacked by sharks within a week this year.

Mr Hastings referred to reports that the Queensland and NSW governments are protecting non-target species caught in shark nets by implementing new technologies, such as electronic warning devices and baits that do not attract dolphins.

Sea Shepherd managing director Jeff Hanson said he agreed with Mr Hastings that people should be put first and for wanting loved ones to be safe when they go in the ocean, but that shark nets were not the answer.

He said nets have killed 85,000 marine animals in Queensland and are not proven as attacks have occurred at beaches with nets.

"You can't have a natural, healthy marine environment and not expect sharks to be there, and our marine environment on our WA coast is really healthy," he said.

"We have to learn how to live with that."

WA no longer uses permanent drum lines, which were controversially trialled in 2014 then abandoned after 172 sharks were killed, including some that were shot.

However Mr Barnett said the state government will continue to catch and kill sharks that pose a serious threat to public safety.

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