Author Topic: Govt afraid of truth: Sheep-ship shark probe sinks 15.10.2012  (Read 3730 times)

WA Export News

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Govt afraid of truth: Sheep-ship shark probe sinks 15.10.2012
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 11:08:14 AM »

Freedom of Information documents obtained by _The West Australian _ show at least one public servant at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry thought the idea that the rise in shark attacks could be linked to the presence of sheep ships was "intriguing" and suggested specialists at the CSIRO pursue the claim.

Another questioned whether the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences should be brought in to crunch data on the probabilities of the presence of sheep ships playing a role in shark attacks.
"This is an intriguing theory," one unnamed bureaucrat said in an email to his superiors in July.

"Great whites 'traditionally' follow whale pods and hang around seal colonies.
"One question is whether liveexport ships discharge carcasses or offal in the vicinity of ports .

. . I'm not sure what distance this is off Western Australia but it's likely to be at least 100km from the coast.
"Nevertheless, it could be argued that great whites might continue to follow ships into port.

The department began looking at the issue after the Humane Society International put out a press release on July 17 attempting to correlate the rise in WA shark attacks with the presence of live sheep ships off the coast.

The HSI release listed all major shark attack and shark sightings in WA dating back to 2005, then attempted to plot the position of the nearest sheep ship at the time.
But several department officials were scathing of the methodology behind the HSI study.

"Another point to note is that the live-export ships are actually leaving Australia, so a non-scientist might argue they are actually doing a service in attracting sharks away from the coast!" one officer in the fisheries branch of the department wrote."Using the list they (HSI) provided all of the mortalities on the vessels that we have looked at occurred after the incident/attack."
Senior bureaucrats ruled out a wide study - apparently after consulting media advisers in Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig's office.
 Nick Butterly Canberra,
 The West Australian October 15, 2012
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 11:37:13 AM by WA Export News »