UK & World News
Great White Attack Deaths Spark Call For Cull
A fifth fatal shark attack off Australia's west coast has re-opened the debate about culling great whites.
On average there are 15 shark attacks on humans each year in Australia, with one fatality.
But in the last 10 months five people have been killed and local marine scientists say the region is the world's deadliest.
The latest victim was surfer Benjamin Linden, 24, who was bitten in half by a great white shark last Saturday. His body still has not been found.
He was surfing with a friend near Wedge Island, north of Perth, when he was mauled by the huge shark, said to be up to five metres (16ft) long.
Western Australia Fisheries Minister Norman Moore has expressed concern at the trend of fatalities.
"We have allocated some $14m (£9m) extra to get a better understanding of the great white sharks and the reasons why the fatalities are occurring," he said.
"I wonder if research might tell us that there are is now a much greater number of great whites than ever before, and maybe we should look at whether they should remain a protected species."
Great whites became a protected species in Australia in the 1990s. Anecdotal evidence suggests numbers have significantly increased but there is no concrete proof.
A tagging and tracking programme was introduced last year and has shown the great whites, which have no predators other than humans, whales and other sharks, can linger off Australia's west coast for months at a time.
The authorities are struggling to find a solution to reduce the threat to human life.
Mr Moore said he was open to "any suggestions from anybody as to where we go to now, because we seriously have got a problem".
Many surfers and ocean swimmers are against a cull or lifting the protected status saying the threat to human life is tiny and it is a risk they are prepared to take.
However, with closed beaches and global media attention such tragedies damage the region's reputation and tourism industry.
Glenn Orgias was mauled by a shark off Bondi beach, Sydney, three years ago. He lost his hand and part of his arm. Incredibly, he has begun surfing again.
"My thoughts go out to this latest victim's friends and family," he told Sky News.
"Culling, though, is not the answer. We should spend a lot more money on research to understand how sharks move and what their migration patterns are like, where they live and what the environmental variables are when they attack."
It is a view shared by shark expert Martin Garwood, from Sydney Aquarium.
"What would be a good benefit from this debate is if this protected status is reassessed. That would require a population study to really try and gauge how many there are on the west coast and when they are around.
"That would definitely tell you, based on what we already know, that there aren't many around so culling is definitely not an option to manage this species and keep us safe as well."
Christopher Neff, from the University of Sydney, has studied shark attacks for many years.
He says that rather than killing sharks, better education is needed on how to limit the chance of attack. Among other precautions, he suggests "avoid swimming after heavy storms, avoid swimming at dawn and dusk, swim closer to shore, avoid swimming alone, avoid areas with active fishing or other waste".
what do you think?
Cars kill far more people than sharks, so when don't they cull them?
They do I've seen people who resemble modern day Neanderthals In track suits hunting a car trying to bludgeon it to death with baseball bats at night while it was sleeping
If it's that dangerous why are people still surfing there?! Stay out of the water anyway we are land dwellers!!!!
You choose to get in the water at your own risk. Simple. Typical human arrogance to say there should be a cull.
When you go for fish and chips in Aus.chances are you eat shark and no one complains. Those who eat shark and chips and complain about a cull are hypocrites who put their dinner before human life.
It's sickening that culling should take place. It is us humans that are invading their space - they don't kill for sport or any underhand manner, they kill to eat and survive. If you enter the water you put yourself in their territory and must understand what the consequence may be.
Bl**dy well said and exactly right!
In England there are some beaches where it's unsafe to swim due to rocks, undercurrent and so on. You know the risk. You take the risk. Sharks aren't doing anything wrong. If your dumb enough to swim where they are dont be surprised to get bit.
A cull would not only be ineffective but immoral as well. Sharks are only animals, they kill for food or in defence. Only humans kill perniciously. If you want to swim but dont want to be shark bait stay in the swimming pool. Even most surfers are against a cull.
leave the sharks alone its thier home a cull on idiots entering the water ,a much better idea !!
You are correct Mike... is it only we few that think this way?
what an absolute disgrace to be even thinking about killing these magnificent creatures.these idiots who decide they want to swim in what is at the end of the day the sharks natural enviroment deserve whatever comes to them. there are many places for humans to go swimming these sharks however are restricted to a few certain areas. they were swimming the worlds oceans millions of years before human beings appeared and systematically set about destroying everything he comes into contact with. this planet does not belong to us solely
We would be better off culling the dimwits who go into shark infested waters.
I'm sure the sharks don't need our help, otherwise I totally agree!
My words too Philip.....
i suppose we will be hearing from the thrill seeking dangerous sport brigade telling us that sharks have no right to spoil their fun. after all theyre only a dumb creature of insignificance. i think we all know who the dumb ones are
Can never understand why surfers wear black wet suits--they look just like seals--dinner on a plate for sharks
Apparently Sharks don't like the taste of human flesh the majority of shark fatalities are due to the trauma caused and massive blood loss. Sharks attack from bellow and a surfer swimming out on their board looks like a seal from underneath. A shark will usually only taste the victim. The only problem is as soon as it tastes blood of any kind it sends the shark into a killing stupor. Culling sharks is stupid how about we cull some humans as they are over populating the earth? After all sharks have been around for millions of years unlike us. What ever happened to deploying electronic countermeasure buoys and shark netting?
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Sharks are at the top of the food chain in the environment in which they live. When they decide to have a meal and this meal happens to be a swimmer they are just doing what comes naturally. There are no known instances of sharks leaving the water to attack humans on the shore so the answer is simple. Stay out of the water in those parts of the world where sharks live or accept the consequences. And 5 deaths in 10 months although distressing for the relatives it is no more then one nasty car crash. Talk of a cull is a serious over reaction
If they grew legs we'd be screwed....
Yeah Chris, we'd also be FIN-ished!
Humans are responsible for more killings than sharks!! I'm up for a human cull!
instead of culling sharks look to why attacks are on the increase humans are not sharks natural food source something must be making then attack us namely over fishing