More than 170 sharks caught in Australia cull policy

May 07, 2014
A the Sea Shepherd Australia/ Animal Amnesty photo shows a tiger shark being caught off Moses Rock in Western Australia, February 22, 2014

More than 170 sharks were caught during a controversial cull policy in Western Australia following a spate of fatal attacks, figures showed Wednesday, with 50 of the biggest ones destroyed.

The , in place around popular west coast beaches, was given the green light in January after six fatal attacks in the past two years, angering conservationists who claim it flies in the face of international obligations to protect the .

The state government said the aim was to reduce the risks to water users. Baited drum lines with hooks were set one kilometre (0.62 miles) offshore at the busiest beaches for a trial period from January 25 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 —could be killed.

The data released Wednesday showed that 172 sharks were caught with 50 of the biggest ones, including one of 4.5 metres, destroyed. Ninety were tagged before being released.

WA Fisheries Minister Ken Baston called the mitigation policy a success, saying it had restored confidence among beachgoers and contributed to knowledge about shark behaviour.

"The human toll from in recent years has been too high," he said.

"Our carefully implemented policy targeted the most dangerous shark species known to be in our waters—white, tiger and bull sharks.

"While of course we will never know if any of the sharks caught would have harmed a person, this government will always place greatest value on human life."

The state government has applied to federal authorities to continue the programme for three more years. But the state Labor opposition claimed no scientific evidence had been produced to show the policy was working.

"What people want is scientific research to show why the government thinks this policy makes our beaches safer," Labor fisheries spokesman Dave Kelly told ABC radio.

"None of that has been provided and the other thing that the should be releasing is how much money this policy is costing."

Sharks are common in Australian waters, and experts say attacks are increasing in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.

Explore further: Sea Shepherd fails to halt Australia shark kill policy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Thousands rally against shark cull in Australia

Feb 01, 2014

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.

First shark killed in Australia cull

Jan 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.

Australia to go ahead with shark 'kill' zones

Jan 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".

Recommended for you

Invasive lionfish likely safe to eat after all

21 hours ago

Scientists have learned that recent fears of invasive lionfish causing fish poisoning may be unfounded. If so, current efforts to control lionfish by fishing derbies and targeted fisheries may remain the ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
5 / 5 (1) May 07, 2014
What happens when you get rid of the top predators? Some people think: more jellyfish. I hear in Australia they've got some real stinkers (like box jellyfish) already.
Sinister1812
5 / 5 (1) May 07, 2014
Most of the state didn't support it. It was the govt's plan. And it was heavily criticised here. Not only that, this will never work.