Thousands rally against shark cull in Australia

February 1, 2014
The controversial policy to catch and kill sharks off popular west coast beaches in Auatralia was given the green light last month

Thousands of people rallied across Australia Saturday against a controversial shark culling policy designed to prevent attacks, saying killing the marine animals was the not the answer.

The controversial policy to catch and kill sharks off popular west coast beaches was given the green light last month after six fatal attacks in the past two years.

It is aimed at reducing the risks to water users and allows baited drum lines with hooks designed to capture large sharks to be set one kilometre (0.62 miles) offshore at busy Western Australian beaches for a trial period until April 30.

Any shark longer than three metres (10 feet) snagged by the lines and deemed to be a threat—including great white, bull and tiger sharks—will be destroyed, with the first casualty reported last week.

The move has angered conservationists and rallies were held at sites around the country, including at least 2,000 people at Manly Beach in Sydney and 6,000 expected at Cottesloe Beach in Perth.

Opponents claim the trial flies in the face of international obligations to protect the .

Anthony Joyce, who was attacked by a shark off a Sydney beach last October, once shared the Western Australian government's views on culling the animals, but after doing extensive research he now disagrees.

"The amount of sharks they are going to kill is going to make no difference in the scheme of things," he told reporters at Manly.

After speaking with shark experts and marine biologists, he now believes greater government support for marine biology programmes and shark education in schools is the way to go.

Another protestor in Manly, Katherine Cook, said she was outraged at the shark killings.

"I'm really angry and incensed that we can't co-exist with anything," she said.

"We are going into their (sharks) environment. Why can't we co-exist?"

At Cottesloe, a female activist chained herself to a fisheries boat to prevent it leaving to set and monitor baited hooks off the coast, the ABC reported.

While are common in Australian waters, deadly attacks are rare, with only one of the average 15 incidents a year typically proving fatal.

But experts say attacks are increasing in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.

Explore further: Western Australia implements shark 'bait and kill' zones

Related Stories

Australia to go ahead with shark 'kill' zones

January 21, 2014

A controversial policy to catch and kill sharks off popular west coast beaches got the green light in Australia, in a move the Humane Society Tuesday termed a "complete disgrace".

Anti-shark devices popular on Maui after attacks

January 24, 2014

A surge in shark attacks on Maui over the past year, including two fatal ones, hasn't stopped people from surfing and swimming in the warm ocean waters that surround the Hawaii island. But it has spurred sales of devices ...

First shark killed in Australia cull

January 26, 2014

The first shark caught under a controversial new Australian culling policy aimed at reducing fatal attacks was shot dead Sunday after being snared, angering conservationists.

Recommended for you

'Hog-nosed rat' discovered in Indonesia

October 6, 2015

Museum of Natural Science Curator of Mammals Jake Esselstyn at Louisiana State University and his international collaborators have discovered a new genus and species on a remote, mountainous island in Indonesia. This new ...

Most EU nations seek to bar GM crops

October 4, 2015

Nineteen of the 28 EU member states have applied to keep genetically modified crops out of all or part of their territory, the bloc's executive arm said Sunday, the deadline for opting out of new European legislation on GM ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Feb 02, 2014
Paradoxically the Aussies by treating sharks are vermin might shift down Chinese perceptions that their fins are a luxury "food item" and so reduce the numbers killed elsewhere.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.