The recent Great White Shark attack in Australia has restarted the debate over whether or not the shark culling program is appropriate. But if there is an “imminent threat” of a shark attack, then some government officials want the authority to remove, catch, or kill the shark.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, 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.
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett believes there needs to be a rapid response squad to deal with the threat of any shark attack, whether it be a Great White Shark or a smaller species. “So if a large shark is seen and is considered to be a threat that we can act quickly and that requires to be able to deploy resources very, very quickly,” he said.
Barnett does not plan on restoring the drum lines to Western Australia beaches in the short term, but he’s also waiting to see how the Australian federal government responds to the recommendation of the EPA.
“That presents somewhat of a dilemma because while they might take a position that you shouldn’t have drum lines in Western Australia, they’ve been used in Queensland and New South Wales for 40 or 50 years and captured hundreds of sharks, plus dolphins, plus whales,” he said. “The only bycatch in Western Australia was a northwest blowie and I don’t think anybody is going to weep about that. I think we were doing it in a very selected part of the coastline, pretty much targeted, with none of the poor consequences.”
In the long term, Barnett believes the rapid response squad should have the ability to prevent a potential shark attack if they believe there is a real danger.
“I hope we don’t get any further shark attacks, but if the threat rises then I still want the capacity to remove, catch, kill, whatever, a shark that is clearly an imminent threat and we need to keep that in the interests of public safety.”
A writer for the Brisbane Times quotes fishermen who believe the shark population near Australia has increased “tenfold” and argues that the government should target the Great White Shark specifically for culling.
“All I and many others who have enjoyed working and recreating in the West Australian coastal region for many years are asking for is the government to do the right thing and help implement a well-thought out plan with a determined effort to eradicate a couple of big rogue white pointers that have quite obviously developed a taste for human flesh in recent years…. [E]liminating some of these big man-eaters that are obviously lurking around way too close to the shore will make the waters a bit more safe, at least to an acceptable risk.”
Not everyone feels the same way. For example, even though the recent Great White Shark attack occurred in Byron Bay, the local mayor, Simon Richardson, believes beach netting should not be used for protection against a shark attack since it has the potential to indiscriminately harm marine life. “The ocean belongs to our marine life and our respect, passion and how we interact with it will, for many, be an individual choice,” he said. Animal rights groups also want to prevent any further shark culling programs and some even advocate limits on fishing.
Do you think it’s a good idea to create a rapid response squad that could identify a Great White Shark as a potential threat and then kill it or remove it in order to prevent a potential shark attack?
[Photo via Brisbane Times]