Reports say surfers support cull while a scientist opposes
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 February, 2014 - There have been seven fatal attacks in WA since 2010, and a program is underway to cull them. While there's been widespread opposition to the move, surfers on the WA south west coast support the move.
Last week the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, granted WA exemption from national environment laws to allow the cull to go ahead. This means species like the endangered Great White Shark is included in the cull provisions.
Mr Hunt said he accepted that sharks posed an 'imminent threat'' to public safety and the state's economy. The WA program sparked protests at beaches nationwide over the weekend, including Kingscliff on the New South Wales north coast. Activists have even removed bait from drum lines.
A Southern Cross University shark expert says the Western Australian cull probably won't have long-term impacts on the number of fatal attacks.
Dr Daniel Bucher says killing sharks could have short-term effects in specific localities. But he says there has only been about one fatal attack a year in Australia, in the past 50 years.
"In the last 20 years that actually hasn't changed, and in that time we've doubled the human population and therefore the number of beach visitations, and we've seen a decline in shark numbers," he said. "So within certain parameters, you'd have to say that there's not a good relationship between the number of sharks in the ocean and the number of fatal attacks."