Great White Shark Attack Has Australia Discussing Netting And Killing Sharks

A great white shark attack in Australia has raised the point of whether or not beach netting should be used and whether or not it is okay to kill sharks in an effort to protect the swimmers and surfers.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, the fatal shark attack in Byron Bay resulted in the death of Paul Wilcox, a 50-year-old British expatriate living in Australia. Ironically, his mother says her son made a joke about sharks in the last conversation they had before his untimely death.

The shark in question was spotted a day later and is estimated to be around six to seven feet long. Great white sharks are a protected species so there is no plan to specifically target and kill the animal responsible for the shark attack, but now the local government is discussing whether or not shark netting is an appropriate response.

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has expressed condolences to the family of Wilcox, but believes that beach netting should not be used since it can indiscriminately kill marine life.

“On behalf of our community, our heartfelt condolences go out to the family members, friends and work colleagues. It was a day of disbelief,” Richardson said. “Naturally when something like this occurs a response, out of fear, is to question should our beaches be netted. However, it’s important to remember that yesterday’s tragic event is a very rare occurrence and netting could have devastating effect on the marine life. Whilst netting is not a council responsibility, I don’t believe that it would be widely supported in our community and should not be considered within a stunning marine park on our doorstep. The ocean belongs to our marine life and our respect, passion and how we interact with it will, for many, be an individual choice.”

Byron Bay did not use netting to protect from great white sharks. Currently, 51 beaches use shark meshing from the beginning of September through the end of September, but New South Wales (NSW) government officials are looking into alternatives.

“The DPI closely monitors, and will continue to monitor, developments in non-lethal alternatives to meshing,” NSW Primary Industries minister Katrina Hodgkinson said. “While non-lethal concepts and programs have been identified, none are sufficiently advanced nor are they effective enough to warrant modifying the existing Shark Meshing Program. The DPI, Surf Life Saving NSW, local government services and the Australian Shark Attack File will continue to collaborate and collect data to better understand the risk of shark interactions at NSW beaches.”

The debate over using netting to prevent another shark attack comes at a time when the Western Australia EPA has rejected the controversial shark culling program that used bait lines attached to floating drums in order to catch sharks. Conservationists were outraged by the fact that “172 sharks were caught in addition to other animals like stingrays,” yet “70 percent of the creatures caught were not large enough to be a threat” even though it was believed great white sharks were responsible for the shark attack deaths.

What do you think is the best approach to preventing future shark attack deaths?