Australian authorities are attempting to euthanize a great white shark that has frequented the waters off Warnbro beach, issuing a catch and kill order after the animal was deemed a threat to public safety.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Australia’s Department of Fisheries asserted that efforts to move the great white out of the area had been unsuccessful, prompting the decision to kill the shark. Dr. Rick Fletcher, Fisheries acting director general, said that his department had been monitoring the shark closely over the past two weeks.
“The initial pattern of detections of this tagged shark combined with the mitigation strategies did not warrant further action,” he said. “However, there has been an increase in the number of daytime detections on consecutive [days] during the lead up to Christmas and school holidays, combined with warm and sunny weather, people are more likely to be in the water using the beaches, fishing and diving.
Dr. Fletch added, “The decision to remove the shark has been made under the State Government’s guidelines for the taking of a shark posing a serious threat to public safety.”
Shark capture gear was deployed off Warnbro on Friday, according to News.Com.Au, and the beach remains closed until the situation is re-assessed. As the Inquisitr recently reported, the great white was first reported in the area in late November by a state-operated shark monitoring system. Over the course of a single week, the white shark was detected more than 50 times.
“The Department of Fisheries sent vessels to investigate and it became apparent the same shark has been within one kilometer of the shore over consecutive days,” the agency noted in their statement.
Dr. Rory McAuley, a senior shark scientist, pointed out that great whites rarely remain in the same area for an extended period of time. He posited that the shark may be frequenting Warnbro due to an abundance of prey.
“Snapper, which white sharks are known to feed on, commonly aggregate to spawn in Warnbro Sound at this time of year,” he noted.
Dr. Fletcher noted that the Department of Fisheries had taken numerous other steps to alert the public to the shark’s presence, utilizing social media and a government website, sharksmart.com.au. Under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, great white sharks are a protected species in Australia.
[Image: MSNBC via NBC News]