Those fearing a great white shark attack created a culling program that had Australia killing sharks in an attempt to improve beach safety in the land of Oz. But even though Aussie surfers may be protected by the program, it’s claimed by some of them that the killings were a waste of time and conservationists are worried about the effect on the environment.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, if you think the top 10 shark attack videos are crazy, then you will want to check out the video about a great white shark that was swallowed and dragged down to the depths of the sea by a monstrous super predator that was many times its size. But if you think that is mysterious, then you should check out the story about the shark found in a Florida pond.
The Western Australian government created controversy with their shark attack prevention program because they used bait lines attached to floating drums in order to catch sharks. The three month program, which ended last month, allowed great white sharks, tiger sharks, and bull sharks that were larger than 10 feet to be killed as part of the culling measures intended to reduce the number of fatal attacks. A governmentreview of the program reported that the baited hooks “failed to capture any great whites, while 64 tigers and four short-fin makos were either killed upon catch or died while caught on baited hooks. One bull shark and 99 tiger sharks were also caught and released.” All in all, 172 sharks were caught in addition to other animals like stingrays. But it’s claimed that great white shark attacks were responsible for the deaths that spurred on the program and 70 percent of the creatures caught were not large enough to be a threat.
The statistics on great white shark attacks also play a large role in the debate. For example, “according to the University of Florida, since 1916 there have only been 106 reportedly unprovoked great white shark attacks, with only 13 of them being fatal. That’s less than the amount of traffic deaths recorded for New York City in 2012.” Scientists say these apex predators are necessary for the ocean’s ecology and conservation programs, not killing programs, are necessary.
Despite the controversial results, Western Australia’s Fisheries Minister Ken Baston claims the shark attack prevention program was a success:
“The human toll from shark attacks in recent years has been too high. While of course we will never know if any of the sharks caught would have harmed a person, this government will always place greatest value on human life.”
Besides the bait drums, the government has been working on a shark tagging system that uses satellite systems, and this program already became renowned when they caught and tagged a great white shark nicknamed Joan of Shark. They have also given $300,000 to a company called SharkShield that is working on an electronic deterrent for sharks.
But a surfing organization named Surfing WA is supporting the three-year extension of the shark attack prevention program that has already cost over $20 million. However, even the government’s report says the data from the limited run is not enough to determine whether it was effective or not:
“It is considered likely that capture of a significant number of large sharks close to high use swimming and surfing areas reduced the risk of shark attacks. The trial has been short, and shark attacks generally too infrequent, to have generated substantial quantitative data to measure the reduction in risk. It is recommended that the program be extended for another three years and then be reviewed again.”
Bob Welch, CEO of Surfing WA, says they are “encouraging the government to take some action to address the issue of public safety at our popular surfing location and beaches until there’s a better, more positive answer to the issue of public safety related to shark attacks.”
Surfers are divided on this issue. For example, surfer Lucas Englert believed the drums and baited hooks needed to be deployed sooner:
“There’s obviously something going on out there. But the drum lines need to be out there now. November is too late.”
But surfer Paul Loof is critical of Australia’s shark attack prevention program, saying:
“It’s delusional to think removing a couple of sharks makes it any safer for anyone.”
Do you think Australia’s shark attack prevention program should be killing sharks or do you think Oz should focus on other methods?