Great White Shark

Australia has been grappling with white sharks after a series of deadly incidents along its western coast. Several swimmers have been killed along the Indian Ocean coastline in recent months.

But this week, the Australian government announced that it will hunt and kill great white sharks under a new plan to protect beachgoers.

There have been a total of five deadly attacks this past year.
Great white sharks have been a protected species in Australian waters for more than a decade. But the latest wave of attacks has forced the government into making a very controversial decision.

Reuters quotes Western Australian state Premier Colin Barnett: “We will always put the lives and safety of beachgoers ahead of the shark. This is, after all, a fish — let’s keep it in perspective.”

Barnett said his state had recorded only 12 shark fatalities over the past 100 years. But five of those deaths happened over the past year, causing researchers to wonder if the shark population is rapidly increasing.

Reuters reports that the plan will allow authorities to catch and kill a shark if it is found close to beachgoers. Previously, sharks could only be hunted if there had already been an attack on a swimmer.

The government will also reportedly buy more jet skis for surf lifesavers, and fund more helicopter patrols of beaches.

There are more than 100 species of shark in Australian waters, but most are not aggressive. Reuters says that the white, tiger and bull sharks are considered the most dangerous, although they tend to live in waters away from popular beaches.

Related:   The Importance of Apex Predators for a Healthy Ecosystem

Australia isn’t the only country to deal with a shark problem. Last month, French officials authorized a cull of about 20 sharks off its Indian Ocean island of Reunion. This came after a wave of attacks in the surfing hotspot.

1 COMMENT

  1. I live in Australia and couldn’t disagree more with the government’s decision to kill sharks they deem to be getting too close to swimmers. To Premier Colin Barnett, I’d say “let’s keep things in perspective here. Humans enter into a shark’s home. You enter at your own risk. The great danger is not the shark, but people with ignorant attitudes like yours”. There are better ways to manage sharks getting too close to shores. People/swimmers should remember that there are plenty of beaches you can go to where sharks are not a problem. The water is the shark’s home. Humans need to learn to co-exist in peace with sharks and other animals. You shouldn’t destroy any animal, simply because you deem it to be a threat.

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