The Western Australian (WA) government has begun a program to kill sharks that appear near popular beaches along the Indian Ocean coast at the southwest tip of the country.
The first kill was confirmed on the 14th: a tiger shark shot one kilometer off Old Dunsborough in the South West region. Its carcass was dumped at sea.
Floating drums with baited hooks designed to attract the animals are affixed to the ocean floor 1km from beaches and surf breaks. The lines are monitored by commercial fishermen. Sharks over three meters sighted in these “kill zones” are shot.
Authorities say the program is a matter of public safety. WA is Australia’s largest state and there are ever more people in the water. Seven people have been killed by shark attacks there over the past three years. The death of a popular local surfer apparently spurred the federal environment minister to grant an exemption to kill sharks under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The exemption allows the killing of white, bull and tiger sharks over 10 feet long.
A majority of Australians don’t see the sense in such a policy when so many shark species have become endangered due to overfishing and mutilation for their fins.
Jupp – The idea of baiting sharks less than 1 mile away from the beaches is ludicrous and shows great lack of knowledge. It will attract more sharks to the area where people swim and could potentially create more problems. I am always amazed by how little those in charge know about sharks. First of all, sharks belong in the ocean and people do not. The oceans need sharks to stay healthy and we need the oceans to survive. Take the reef sharks away from the coral reefs, and the reefs will die within one year. Every shark has a job to do in the ocean. This is only for politicians to pretend that they are doing something for the public; when in reality they accomplish nothing.
Lindsey – Baiting is sheer lunacy! Why attract sharks in! Isn’t that what we don’t want. It should be about finding ways to live in harmony, how about swim zones with sonar for detection for those that want to swim safely. STOP tagging sea creatures and interfering with their minds by implanting permanent noise into their bellies. Govt departments should be banned from interfering with Sharks which is just as bad as killing them. Don’t play with that which you do not understand.
Cahli – This cull is foolish and short sighted. There are not “more sharks” in the ocean, there are more misinformed humans in the ocean, making poor decisions, such as swimming through the schools of bait fish that sharks feed on. We need to better educate the community about safe swimming tactics and grow up and accept the risks involved in entering the habitat of a large predator.
Cam – If you’re in the water, you’re in their territory. It’s as simple as that. Leave the sharks alone
Murray – As someone who was attacked by a shark, I’m totally against this policy. I was surfing, I was bitten 4 times by an 8 ft bronze whaler which ripped my leg apart, had to have 250 stitches, lost about 1/3 of my blood and had to be revived twice as I was seconds away from dying. If you surf, there are sharks, and they might bite you. I still surf and accept that fact every time I go in the ocean. Leave them alone, they are rare and beautiful, if you don’t want to run the risk, stay out of the ocean. Simple.
Molly – Ludicrous! More people drown in rip currents than from sharks. Entering the water, you take a known risk, sharks are a risk, we’re not always top of the food chain, have some respect. Australia, leave the sharks alone.
Janet – When will people learn that we cannot mess with nature. Look at the state of world today. It is a really bad decision. Everything we do has a downside and surfers are well aware of the risks. Considering the number of people who go into the sea every year, the number of fatal shark attacks is less than minimal.
Miss – I hope all these politicians have something to answer to in the next life for all the innocent animals they just disregard for the sake of human luxury! Disgraceful. Have some respect for these creatures who have to fend for themselves day in day out, who show way more determination and magnificence than any human can ever relate to.
Dave – Great whites can travel 100kms in one day so baiting them is comparable to dipping into a barrel of names for someone to take a murder rap! Absolutely ridiculous & callous because dolphins, & sharks under 3m will also fall victims!