Western Australia to kill sharks in controversial policy

Western Australia to kill sharks in controversial policy
AIMS researchers conducting monitoring surveys and study of Grey Reef sharks at Scott Reef in Western Australia.

SYDNEY- Sharks longer than 3m which approach popular beaches on Australia’s west coast will be killed by professional fishermen under controversial new measures following a spate of fatal attacks.

Western Australia’s state government revealed yesterday it would also set baited drum lines along the coast, which has been labelled the world’s deadliest shark attack region. There have been six fatal attacks along the coast in two years, including a death in the popular Margaret River tourist region late last month.

The baits will be set 1km from shore from January to April next year, mainly at beaches around Perth and the state’s south-west.

State Premier Colin Barnett warned beachgoers the measures would not eliminate the risk of attacks and that swimmers and surfers must continue to take care.

“We are aware of the risks sharks pose to our beach users and the Western Australian way of life and we are implementing strategies to reduce these risks,” he said.

State Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell said it was not “a culling of sharks”. “It is not a fear-driven hunt, it is a targeted, localised shark mitigation strategy.”

But the move prompted criticism from conservationists, who called it an indiscriminate “cull”.

Shark researcher Christopher Neff of Sydney University said it was an “unfortunate policy”.

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