West Oz Enacts Plan to Kill Great Whites

In response to attacks, the government will preemptively cull sharks

| posted on September 28, 2012

In the past year, there were five fatal great white attacks in West Oz. Photo: Frieden

[UPDATED January 27, 2014] 

On January 26, a 10-foot long female tiger shark became the first shark to be killed under the state’s controversial shark culling law. It’s been reported that after the shark was caught near the town of Dunsborough, via a baited hook attached to a drum, it was then shot four times in the head and dumped out to sea. The move to implement the law comes after a series of shark attacks in the area over the past few years prompted lawmakers to adopt the policy. Environmentalist and conservationists have been vocally opposed to the law. In response to the killing, Collin Barnett, the state’s premiere was quoted as saying that “I get no pleasure from seeing sharks killed, but I have an overriding responsibility to protect the people of Western Australia, and that’s what I’m doing.”

The Western Australian government recently announced a $2 million plan to preemptively kill great white sharks off their coastline. In the past year, the territory has suffered five fatalities as a result of great white attacks.

“These new measures will not only help us to understand the behavior of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer,” said Western Australia’s Premier, Colin Barnett.

The decision to preemptively kill some great whites is a portion of a larger $6.8 million “shark mitigation” plan that would see the use of shark enclosure nets at some high-traffic beaches, increased tagging of sharks, further research into shark repellent, and the purchase of $500,000 of Jet Skis to give to local surf clubs to help spot sharks. The new shark-killing plan goes against current policy dictating that a shark can only be killed after they’ve attacked.

There was an outcry over the decision from Australians as many argued that the preemptive kill plan was a knee-jerk reaction to the rise in attacks recently. In response to the opposition’s outcry, Barnett told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that, “We will always put the lives and safety of beachgoers ahead of the shark. This is, after all, a fish—let’s keep it in perspective.”

WA opposition leader Mark McGowan said the decision is not only irrational, but it also undermines the federal government’s White Shark Recovery Plan, which calls for the protection of the shark.

In a statement from Sharon Livermore of the International Fund for Animal Welfare that appeared in The Australian, she argued that preemptively killing the ocean’s top apex predator could have direct consequences on the surrounding ecosystem. “WA’s decision is simply not the right response. The ocean is the shark’s habitat, and needlessly removing them from our oceans would affect the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem, which could be ecologically and economically devastating.”

  • Brian Rossi

    this is a bad idea on so many levels. killing the great white randomly defies our whole intent for being a cohabitative subspecies of this planet. i love the beach and the ocean, but not at the stake of massacring marine life. it is a severley reckless plan with dire consequences. rather than go against nature for our simple ‘pleasures’ it is our duty and responsibiliy to limit access to the water. while it will unfortunately hurt tourism along the coast, dollar signs cannot take the place of an animal or fish that the same dollars have no value to.

    you MUST make it a priority to protect nature for the future. albeit good or bad for any business. a top predator is not part of our human financial existence and therefore must not be penalized for our ‘desires’.

  • CarolNikkie

    Tag ’em, study ‘m, but DON’T KILL THEM OFF! ~0:’-(

  • Lindsay Terrell

    I think this decision is preposterous!!!!! Who do we humans think we are destroying anything that lives in the ocean? We should be helping our planet no destroying it! We only have ONE Earth and ONE chance I do things right! If these people decide to start killing sharks, the ocean will also be killed which will in turn allow no one to enjoy the beach and ultimately kill ourselves! Nothing fires me up more than to learn about any government wanting to do further damage to our oceans and our earth! HELLO!!!!!! Wake the eff up and get over it! We humans take the risk everyday we enter the ocean, that a shark can kill us or a jellyfish can sting us, if anything, why not get the over population of jellyfish under control??? The ocean hardly has enough sea turtles to eat the over abundance of jellyfish. So where’s the out cry there??
    First we want to still for oil and kill the oceans and land and now killing sharks is next.
    We need the sharks to survive! Period! Shame on Australia for this absurd idea! It’s our own fault for entering the ocean knowingly. Knowing of the dangers and risks yet we go to enjoy the ocean anyways. I surf. I surfed with a bull shark today, literally right next to me for a good 20 minutes and I didn’t get bit.
    It would have been my fault had I gotten bit!!
    No words can describe the disgust I have for what these people are conjuring up! LEAVE THE SHARKS ALONE!!!

  • Leigh Emerson Smith

    Find somewhere else to swim. Sharks live in the ocean. It’s the only place they can live.

  • Whitey

    Not right.

  • Joe

    This is stupid. There has to be better ways to go about this. The ramifications could be immense. Have the following ideas/issues been addressed or have they been watching “River Monsters” instead?
    1: Large apex predator takes a long time to sexually mature which makes population recruitment timely. Killing any number of these animal will have efects on the population for decade(s). This could have trophic cascade consequences which may result in population collapse of more than one species.
    2:Has anyone bothered to ask why this is happening or ways to prevent incident? If we know why the sharks are there we can avoid them and in the mean time address the underlying cause.
    I cannot believe that in this day these type of decisions still get made…dont want to harsh the surfer/tourist wave buzz myar…..sooo DUMB

  • Liz

    Swimmers can have salt water pools created at beachsides, They don’t need to encroach into Shark territory. As for surfers and divers, They are going to have to be confined to fewer areas with shark nets
    As for the sharks, they probably wonder why they aren’t allowed to ‘ fish’ for humans along side other creatures they find in the sea.

  • Raphael

    Those ecologists who put animal life before people’s one, are they serious ?

    “We will always put the lives and safety of beachgoers ahead of the shark. This is, after all, a fish—let’s keep it in perspective.”

    That’s a sane thought. It’s about defending our species against another one as it has been the case all along human evolution. Human evolution is basically a fight of our species against others to dominate. Man is dominating the earth only since a few thousands years. Was there any so called “ecologist” to defend Saber-toothed cat or Tyrannosaurus when there were still alive ? “Pleeeeease don’t kill Tyrannosaurus, it can affect the whole ecosystem and destroy the planet”.


    The great white shark is a tremendous sea predator and it seems that there is not enough place for the two species in the sea…

  • mike pettijohn

    pity the great whites couldn’t tally a vote and come kill some people on land…

  • Shannon Quill

    This is pure insanity. They are talking about disrupting an entire ecosystem. Millions of people get in the water every day. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than being attacked or killed by a shark. This is a waste of time and money and the ramnifications are unknown. This needs to be stopped.

  • EZE

    What is wrong with these people? The ocean is the shark’s habitat, not ours, and all surfers and beachgoers should be aware of this and accept a potential albeit very slight (5 attacks in a year is still nothing compared to amount of people that enter the waters each year) risk of being attacked/stung/bitten by ANY sea creature when you enter the water and if you are not able to accept that risk, then just don’t enter the water; remember that the ocean is their habitat, not ours. I accept this risk every time I go out for a surf, and I would never put the blame on any marine creature in case something would happen to me. If you ask me, people should sign a waiver or something saying that they will never blame or persecute the ocean or any part thereof should anything happen to them whilst visiting(!) the water.
    Besides, even though a shark might be “just a fish” to some people, it is a top level predator which fulfills a very important function in keeping the equilibrium in the ocean in tact. When this equilibrium is disturbed, it will eventually also start affecting land based life, even though this is probably too much long-term thinking for most people out there (who prefer to focus on short-term benefits and thus short-term solutions).

  • David

    Australian beaches have recently become a lot more dangerous due to the over population of great whites after being protected for a considerable time now. I don’t believe that they plan to off all of them but it does seem that the population needs to be kept in check. I agree with tag em and tracking, netting and definitely research repellents. Lets not forget all the tuna and other sea fish we eat every day. Is the shark more special for some reason? None of the other fish eat us or our family. Yet we want to over protect them? Hawaii has the tiger shark problem now and innocent people have died. So, yes they are just fish and are dangerous. We take their food source and they take us. How about an ocean full of whites with no food? Every time anyone goes for a swim it’s lunch. Sharks have killed many people over the years. Time to take a few of them out. Protecting a species is a good thing but there’s a limit. Just sayin. Umm lets go fishing.

  • mort

    Did any of you think past your save the planet mind set every thing you think you know about these sharks is over population of a speces cant work either.let common sense prevail.when was the last time you ate sea food hipoctite.these animals are everywhere and clearly not at risk of extinction in my town.beutiful creatures all the same.probably taste good to

  • Jennifer Homcy

    Overpopulations in nature handle themselves – its called carrying capacity – when a population exceeds its available and necessary resources and territory needs, the populations suffer a natural episode in which some organisms fail to survive – so keep your “save the planet” opinions out of the conversation – this is not about that. The command and control model of “managing nature” has never worked yet we still try to implement an ineffective system that is doomed to fail on some level or another. Any ocean goer knows their risks – as ugly as it can be – a more effective approach would be some sort of deterrent in areas frequented by swimmers and surfers – sharks are easily conditioned – once deterred effectively they will generally avoid such areas for long periods of time – wise up WA!

  • Genesis

    Good show! Gotta put the fear of man back in these beasts. Objectors can feed their children to the sharks as an earth sacrifice, but don’t ask us to sacrifice ours.

  • Cecilio Libadisos

    Sharks live in the ocean. We don’t. LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!

  • David

    It’s not about killing them off, it’s about controlling their population. Shark culling has been around for a long time. The balance of the ecosystem will be screwed up if we eat the sharks food supply and they feed on each other or us. We really can’t have an ocean full of great whites munching on everything in site, can we? If it’s between my kids and the shark, shark dies. Yes, they are fantastic creatures, awesome, but they aren’t smart enough to know their food source from us because they are a fish. The Bengal tigers in India have been protected also, which is a good thing to a point. But when they start entering towns at night taking babies they must die. Sharks sweeping the reef in search of whatever meat are the same to me, hunters out for a kill. It’s the same for rouge bears, elephants, gators etc. We need to protect our species. No one says take em all out, just limit the number a bit to keep the beaches safer. Yes, sharks have a right to their ocean but so do we. Are we going to protect the box jelly fish also? I have tremendous respect for sea creatures, but I still eat them and kill them if they eat humans if needed. If they going to be culled, we need a rough count on the total number out their and take a percentage. When Hawaii did this the water was much safer. Now it’s a hit or miss out there offshore. Just an opinion.

  • jimbo

    there to many sharks!? think you well find there to many fucking people!

  • B Mac SW WA

    To all you bleeding heart twits who want my coastline filled with killing machines stay inside and watch your nature doco’s on your ipads. Kill em. I hate em.



  • Scott

    Wow. Ummm so we protect the sharks because of population declines due to over-fishing. Now we have to many sharks because we have protected them, so lets just try killing them again. Seems a bit cyclical to me. There has to be a smarter way of going about this.

  • mike

    @B Mac SW WA

    What makes you think it is your coastline? pretty privileged are we… owning water ways.

  • Geoffy B-D

    Humans are so f*&^ing arrogant…. Why don’t we just kill all the animals in the sea (or at least the tasty ones :)? Oh, wait. That’s what we’re doing already with the current over-fishing trends. No wonder the sharks are so hungry – their food supply is rapidly diminishing.

  • Kevin Sousa

    When will the Aussies learn not to mess with Mother Nature? It was ideas like this that brought Cane Toads from Hawaii to Australia in 1935 to combat beetle infestation and that turned into a veritable plague of Toads that continues to this day. Those that who do not learn from history are… Oh why bother?!?!

  • Ian

    “Keep in perspective”??? There are 7 BILLION humans and only an estimated 3500 great white individuals GLOBALLY. Humans are not a critical piece of the ocean ecosystem lifecycle – and not required for a health ocean. Healthy ocean = healthy planet. Sharks are however critical.

  • Dave

    There is so much ignorance about GWS being written here.

    Thanks to strong protections dating back many years now, their population has not only rebounded, it is growing rapidly past the carrying capacity of their local environments. Just like when deer overgraze their range, or when Mountain Lion populations get larger than their range can support, GWS need to be culled to maintain a healthy population. More individuals does NOT equal a healthier population.

    I Just don’t get why rationality and reason fly out the window when it comes to managing “Disney” species… People are fine with culling low profile or disliked species – say there is an overpopulation of mosquitos, everybody is happy to kill them – but when you try and manage, no matter how responsibly the management is done, a species that has been adopted by tree huggers, anthromorphised by disney, or become a poster child for the siierra club/surfrider/any other “nonprofit” that fills it’s coffers off of being “green”, suddenly logic has no place.

    Grow up people.

  • HG

    sharks are risk adverse/learn to stay away from places they are culled/good for them and good for us. (p.s. you morons who are against this probably just surf cardiff reef or some other man dominated spot and don’t know what your talking about)

  • Mauro

    I’m surfer,sometimes i’m scared by shark attacks but i’m human and the sea is not my home,fishes and sharks it is!!
    Isn’t that?
    So,why hunting someone in his house??

  • Bryan Buck

    This is insane. Why not put a net or some type of barrier 100 yards or so off shore that most things can get through, but sharks can’t? Who are we to go into a shark’s natural environment and decide we have the authority to kill them? Humans are a deplorable species.

  • Kalib

    What makes Australia think they are only killing their Own shark problem.
    Great Whites are a migratory species, think of the damage culing the sharks will cause the South African Coastline as those Great Whites keep the seal population in check as well as being a large part of the tourism industry.

    This needs to be thought of from a Global perspective and not a knee jerk reaction to a few people being attacked in the Sharks natural habitat, its a risk that all surfers are aware of and are clearly willing to take.

    Lets Hope that we as Humans dont go making another species Extict because of our Ignorance.

  • John .D

    The Australian Government has signed a contract with China to supply shark fins .As it is it not in international waters [A Billion dollar industry ] More people die eating [choking]on popcorn in your country every year .Anyone for soup ?

  • Hawaiian pono

    Sharks will never be extinct! and nothing that Australia does will dramatically change the entire worlds water ecosystem. yes, great whites are more popularly known to be around Australia year round, but it’s not like the enitre worlds GWS population migrates there! great whites aren’t the only predator shark in the ocean, they’re just the biggest and scariest, really they’re jsut the most popular. hence all the objectors with there fancy ecosystem and checks and balances talk. If NOTHING is done, in 30 years, noone’s going in the ocean! lets put it into perspective, you’re child has cancer, last wish is to play in the ocean, all the beaches around you are known to be heavily populated by Great White Sharks, tell me you’d let your child go play in the water…..didn’t think so. when it direcetly affects you you’re all about protecting humans first, but when you live in the mainland or not an island you really have no idea what you’re talking about and no nature documentary or articles can change that. People who live on islands rely on the ocean for life, if Tiger sharks weren’t put into check in 10-15 years here in hawaii, Niihau wouldn’t flourish with fish the way it does now. Sharks are vitale to the ecosystem, no doubt, but not around coastlines, humans fish more than enough to keep the fish population in check, too much in fact. so why how would adding sharks to that equation work out for people? oh i’m sure all you people opposed to this all eat mcdonalds and other fast food and dont rely on fish on a daily basis. jsut becasue we understand teh risk doesn’t mean our life is worth less than a shark, if i get eated or a limb taken by a shark it would suck, but i would understand you gotta pay to play, nothing in life is free, but if i die, and my family relys on me for food ans shelter now a whole family of HUMANS is out on the street, all for a shark??? jump in the water with a shark, or a lions den at the zoo, tell that creature that you support and protect them, let me know how that works out for you.

  • http://surfrider Lisa

    Have the aussies gone mad???? Who is the chief MORON who thinks that slaughtering every great white shark is going to solve ANY problems, let alone an isolated and tragic situation?? Ive spent time in Aus as an ocean lifeguard, Ive been out to the shark nets and have seen first hand the devastation that just the nets create. Now they want to just slaughter any white shark they find because of 5 tragic deaths? Im a surfer as well, Ive surfed Aus, in places where I had to fear the Croc AND the “men in the grey suits” while I paddled out to breaks and played in the waves. As a surfer/swimmer/beach goer/retired lifeguard (“paid” lifeguard as the Aussies distinguish ), here and all over the world, Ive ssen it from up close and personal, the devastation humans wreck on the environment. culling sharks off the coast, any coast, is NOT going to solve any problems, ITS GOING TO CREATE WORSE PROBLEMS. Yes, other animals inhabit this planet and live in the ocean. If I get hit while surfing or scuba diving, well its on me. NOT the shark or the croc or anything else that happens to be nearby. Yet I have NO desire to slaughter sharks. As a biologist I recognize the importance of these MAGNIFICENT AND MAJESTIC creatures. Id just assume cull the stupid humans who constantly strive to DESTROY our planet. This proposed INSANITY has to stop before it gets going!!!

  • fred

    Killing sharks is a great idea. All the sharks in the ocean aren’t worth one human life. Sharks are nasty creatures and their culling is overdue. Of course this action will effect the ocean environment. Positively.

  • Shadman

    I surf in Central California. Red Triangle territory. In the sharky waters THEY call home. Karma says “don’t eat them, they won’t eat you”. Idiocracy. You play in the water, you take the risk. There’s only an estimated population of 220 great whites in the Pacific. Leave them alone.

  • bob

    Let’s kill all the creatures that roam this earth, then there won’s be any bee sting kills, or jelly fish kills, or grizzly bear kills, and oh yeah don’t forget all the snakes, lions, crocodile’s and let’s not forget the greatest killer on the planet, mankind. Well if we can cull the ocean of shark’s surely this earth is going to be culled by the one who created it. The very creator who sends every creature into this world.

  • John D

    i find surfers are the very bravest people on earth .One in one Million might get bit or chewed on every few years .But mountain climbers on K2 one in Ten will die on each trip .Climbers plan to blow up Mount Everest and K2 to make to less scary because they have bad dreams at night .

  • erik

    they should make a reality t.v. gameshow out of it. something with sort of a mad max waterworld running man theme. crazed ecaped prisoners swimming for their lives with rewards like souped up jet skis and shotguns and whiskey with motorhead playing on a barge loaded with roadkill carcasses to chum the water. so amped now.

  • Twig

    This is ludicrous…. What about culling humans!! How many people do humans kill and are we bad for the environment? You have to be kidding, are surfers really supporting the killing of sharks? If so this world has zero chance of making it another 20 years.

  • steven

    Thank god they finally going to put this to action ! you cannot rape and pillage the ocean and expect the food chain to stay correct, Apex predators that do not have any natural predators themselves that are protected are out of hand to the number of natural prey available to them !!! they will bounce back again and again , its been proven !!! Yewwww go ahead with the plan OZ !!!

  • Phil

    Why not deal with this in a sensible way, get all the idiots that think they have a right to do what they want to this planet and feed them to the sharks, that way we can have a line of boats dropping them away from the shoreline so surfers/divers/swimmers can enjoy the beaches, the human population will be culled helping to correct the balance that is needed for the planet and it is win win.

    To all the idiots that keep saying about sitting inside not knowing what we are talking about, or that you hate sharks for whatever moronic reason, some of us work and live in the field studying these animals and environments you seem to enjoy trashing so get a life and get on the boat to be culled.

  • beyrick

    this shit makes me embarressed to be a human.

  • Eamon Molloy

    Nature will always win. Sharks are used to coming closer to people and associating them with food as a direct result of cage diving and similar commercial enterprises. Is is easy to see that. Not rocket science.

    If I was hungry, came to a place with food, couldnt get at it and got frustrated trying to get at it. I would definitely chomp on it the next time I came across it. Simple really.

  • Matt Dowell

    From my limited understanding of ecology, culling an apex predator sounds like an ill-advised practice to say the least. No only does it sound wrong from an ecological standpoint, but I feel that it is also wrong ethically as well. Sharks are dependent on the ocean for their very survival, while, for surfers and beachgoers, time in the ocean is a dispensable luxury. I believe I speak for other surfers when I say that when we enter the water, we do so with a sense of humility and understanding of our place in the ocean. We are temporary visitors to a wilderness that belongs to its inhabitants.

  • James

    Shocked and speechless at this, I’m still not altogether sure if it’s a wind up or not.

    Australia, proving Neanderthals still exist.

  • Pete

    I actually live and surf in WA and i wonder how many of those posting comments against reducing Great White numbers actually come from WA and know anything about the issues we are facing Here. So here we go – WA had 13 recorded fatal shark attacks from the early 1800s until 2000 and most by tiger sharks, bull sharks and whalers. We have now had 10 in a decade and five in twelve months, all by Great Whites, which has now seen our coast officially labelled the most dangerous in the world for risk of shark attack, whereas we used to be known as the safest in Australia. Coincidentaly this has occured since the GW was declared endangered in the late nineties and Shark fishing ceased. In all my years of surfing we never used to worry too much about shark attacks until the last 10 years or so. Why? because they were an extremely rare occurance and Great Whites were rarely encountered. Now they are sighted nearly every day.Three times this week surfers have been chased out of the water by Great Whites. There have been two, fortunately non fatal attacks attributed to GWs at my local beach in recent months. Now of course some will argue that population growth is the course, and to some extent it is but it is worth noting that we did not have a fatal attack for nearly 30 years until this 2000. All at time of increasing human, whale and seal growth. Others argue that the natural ecosystem will be disturbed by reducing some numbers of Great Whites only, well it certainly wasn’t going arse up before the Great White was declared endangered in the late nineties and were fewer in numbers. You also might want to consider why other sharks are not attacking people, have the GWs taken over their natural environment. Others say we are wiping out a whole species, we are not, we are culling numbers of Great Whites only and not just because they are there, but because there numbers have increased to more dangerous levels than ever before. So there you have it , a practical reason for our governments decision to attempt to put human life ahead of a shark and try to protect surfers, swimmers, divers and other ocean users. We have always accepted a risk is involved in surfing and will keep surfing despite that risk, but the risk has now got measurably greater. As one shark expert wrote in the local newspaper ” like a lightning strike we don’t know when the next fatal shark attack will come, but we can be sure that sooner rather than later it will” and we all hope the next one is not a child. By the way most surfers in WA appear to be in favour of some form of control of Great Whites.

  • Heidi

    It’s important to remember there are other ways to protect yourself from sharks while diving and surfing, too. Shark Shield is the only proved shark deterrent system. It’s approved by NATO and used by the US Coast Guard, the Australian Special Forces, the South African and Australian Navy’s and Abalone Associations. There really are other options than killing.

  • Renars Birmanis

    Human beings – ridiculous!!!…. totally bad reaction OZ will get after. Broke the eco system, get bad karma and kill smaller brothers …. Im surfer and live near coast and respect ocean rules. Keep the ocean ocean and go swim in places where are no sharks.
    I will pray for these animals!!!

  • Pete

    Kill them all

  • Pete

    Just for the record I am Pete from WA and not the Pete who posted the kill em all comment, thought I would qualify that. Thats not what many of us in WA want. We want a modest reduction of Great Whites only, and not otherl sharks. And Renars please note that we are not messing with the eco system because it was doing just fine before when the GWs were much less in numbers and were not protected.

  • D’Arcy

    Anyone who thinks that decimated Great White populations have grown dramatically since the protection status less than 50 years ago is a fucking idiot. They reproduce incredibly slowly and are lucky if they get to reproduce once in life. We are lucky that waters bordering our coastline are prosperous enough to harbor great whites and this is why they congregate here, this doesn’t mean they are over populated. Your fisheries minister Norman Moore and all you surfers from west oz talking shit on here give Australia a bad name. We are users of the ocean not the owners. If your not prepared to share the environment with its owner (in this case the GW) and run the absolute minimal risk that you encounter one, then don’t surf. David, you specifically are an idiot , probably the biggest one here. As Jennifer mentioned, when there is imbalance in an environment and predators exceed the availability of prey( definitely not the case in this situation) a natural event such as carrying capacity will come into play and the population of both species will become balanced after a natural reduction in numbers. Its a tragedy to lose someone but this is the stupidest solution ever. A typical response from a government listening to a bunch of uneducated cavemen hell bent on blood

  • Pete

    Obviously D’arcy you don;t come from WA. If you did and had been surfing for a long time you would know that Great White numbers HAVE increased substantially. If not why the unprecedented increase in Great White attacks and constant sightings, they used to be very rare know it is all the time. This last week the Perth beaches were closed every day due to Great Whites cruising past. The numbers have got so bad and the sightings so common that some surfers in the south west have given up surfing. And these are real watermen too not occaisional surfers. So mate we are not talking shit, we live here and know whats happening and it shits us when people who are not effected pretend they are the experts and cast judgement from afar. I have surfed the WA coast for 40 years and we never had this problem before the buggers were given protected status in the late nineties, not 50 years ago as you stated, and you call us uneducated. It always interests us that so many of those opposed to reducing Great White numbers have to get abusive like you did and never acknowledge that we have a real problem. And you call us uneducated cavemen hell bent on blood. Well we are not the rednecks calling for the destruction of all sharks and other sea life, we only want a reduction in Great Whites, because they are are responsible for ALL the fatal attacks in the last decade, because they obviously have increased in numbers, and because we don’t want any more human lives lost.Its a pity that you value a sharks life over a persons. But before you espouse more holier than thou comments, how about protesting about the East Coast Australia and South African shark nets that indisciminately kill all sea creatures including all species of sharks, as well dolphins, whales, turtles and seals. And aren’t shark nets a form of a cull. We don’t have them in WA and we don’t want them because of the carnage they cause. Oh and we are prepared to take the risk and keep surfing, but you know we are not the only ocean users ,what about swimmers, divers, snorklers and so on. What if the a child is the next victim, and if you think this is dramatic remember one of the far too many victims was taken in waist deep water at a city beach. Also if Great Whites have not increased in numbers off WA why is it that we now have the official rating as the most dangerous coast for risk of shark attacks in the world, yet a until this century we were considered one of the safest. Also why are ESDS sales going through the roof in WA?

  • rab

    Pete – you do raise some good points, a lot of knee jerk reactions on both sides it seems.
    Few questions I have as an non-res of WA.

    Do you think the actual population has gone up (which if the GWs are actually protected would seem to show the protection is working) or has it simply moved. It has been shown that these things cover a lot of ground, and I wonder if there could be something that has changed that is drawing more to this area. Some areas in california that had not seen whites in years saw more as seal populations blew up.
    Also, could the attacks have increased because of more people in the water, thus statistically increasing the odds of encounters/attacks?
    While my first reaction is that killing is not the best idea, I also wonder if it may spook other sharks out of the area. Been some documentation of GWs hauling ass out of the Farallons after killer whales attacked one of them.
    Tough call to determine how to balance interaction between “nature” and humans.
    I do like the idea of studying to better understand these sharks behaviors, how they range and what causes them to spend more or less time in an area.

  • Zander

    so according to this it is OK to shoot my neighbor because he might someday cause harm to me/my family?

    Stupid bunch of bench sitters wasting tax payers money thinking about shit like this.

    Stop spending thousands and thousands of our dollars on a helicopter that flies up and down the coast that can spot the occasional shark and invest in “shark save” beaches e.g. nets to keep them out etc.

  • Kerry

    This is not a good thing!

  • Phan

    Who are we to determine that a species is over populated? Instead of spending all that money to kill of the GW wouldn’t it be a wiser choice to use that money to come up with a way to protect the people instead?

  • Pete

    Hello Rab, you also make some good points and while population growth certainly would be a point to consider it is also important to note that from 1967 until the late nineties WA did not have a single fatal shark attack, this at a time of massive population growth. So it is a fair assumption that population growth is not a major cause of the unprecedented run of fatal shark attacks by Great Whites . Yes whale and seal numbers have increased, but they were also increasing in that period. However since the GW was given protected status and shark fishing licenses were withdrawn in the late nineties fatal shark attacks, all attributed to GWs , have increased and now almost rival the numbers recorded in the 200 years prior to this century ( mostly attributed to other sharks), so things seem a little too coincidental. Now we have the unenviable official label as the most dangerous coast in the world for shark attacks. And this on the coast of a vast state that only has a population of two million people. The ten fatal attacks in the last decade would equal 180 on a per capita basis in California. What would be the reaction there if that was to occur? While further studies in the GW has merit, unfortunately in the shorter term it will do nothing to prevent further fatal attacks on the WA coast, so some form of culling seems the only way for now. And this is a view held by almst all of the great many WA ocean users who i know.

  • b mac

    Guess what? You all got stooged by this column. The WA gov has no plans to go out start killing random sharks. The article is a beat up and completely false. The writer has the facts wrong. The gov has been tagging sharks with transmitters that set off alarms at beaches when the sharks come in. The bleeding hearts can go back to their libriary books and ipads.

    To mike, is that the best you can do? My coastline is like saying my kids. Sure I do not outrightly own them but they are my responsability and I care for them just like my coastline.

  • Bill Storsten

    I think that although I love nature and its diversity on land and in the sea that there is a sensible balance to be considered, not everyone who finds themselves in shark attack risk seas are there by choice, the risk of being hunted and attacked by a shark is down to a few species of shark that are proven to be maneaters, great whites ,bullsharks, tiger sharks, ocean going white tips to mention a few, many sharks species are not a risk to human life however and do not enter into the solution, remove the apex predators and leave the relativly harmless sharks to maintain the ecological balance, someone commented that these are fish we are talking about and although you could reasonably argue that we have no right to interfere in the balance of nature I feel that the loss of life to these apex predators needs to be addressed…..

  • jesus

    how in gods blue ocean can the culling of sharks affect the underlying ecosystem in a bad way? there will be more large fish to catch and eat for us. humans. we are the apex predator. with brains. its a matter of evolution. sorry sharky, rather see you go than me.

  • Darby

    It can take up to 25 years for sharks to reach sexual maturity and reproduce, meanwhile we kill 100 million sharks every year. And the threat to human life…? More people are killed by vending machines than sharks (fact.). We should be honoured to see a great white shark swimming free in the ocean because our kids and grandkids will surely never get the chance. I dont believe the minimal threat to humans justifies the slaughter of great whites to extinction.

  • Matt

    Enter the ocean at your own risk…if you don’t want to risk getting attacked by a shark then swim in a pool. Shooting sharks to stop attacks must be one of the dumbest ideas ever. No one can predict when and where an attack will occur but there are certain signs to look for that when used with common sense and judgment will minimise the risk. This policy is insanely stupid and an embarrassment to WA and all Australians that allow this to occur.

  • Pete

    This is pure slaughter… So wrong. Stop industrial fishing in the Indian Ocean for starters and you’ll probably see a drop in shark attacks. Water is their element, land is ours. Period.

  • Rich

    Amm, this is really contraditory, by the surfer’s point of view (especially the aussie’s) is a good plan, unless you wanna surf knowing that you can be attacked anytime. Of course there are always the others who are against it. My opinion is: yea, human’s life first, the Premier is right, our security in foreground! You who are against any kind of shark killing plan probably never have had the sadness of seeing a piece of someone’s leg that is hanged. Common sense guys! Aloha.

    • Chad

      Their domain! not ours! you’re wrong!

    • Nick

      By that logic we should kill anyone who kills another. For example, involuntary man slaughter. Should we kill you if you accidently hit another driver and they happen to die. Your an idiot! Not for your opinion on the killing of animals as the exsist in their own environment but for the fact you put aloha st the end of your statement. Sharks are some Hawaiians ancestors. I have met someone who lousy an arm to a shark. She is yet to blame the shark.

    • Sharknado

      I had the opportunity to see a piece of someone’s leg: my own leg. I totaly disagree with this plan. It is irrational. Until someone proves that shark population has increased, this culling thing is a big lame for Autralia.

    • Matt

      You obviously aren’t a surfer, spend little time in the ocean and have no regard for any other creatures on this planet…should we also shoot bus drivers in case they run over and kill pedestrians? Your “common sense” makes no sense at all.

    • cleanSooke

      I’ve known 3 shark attack survivors in my life (all on Kauai). Not ONE of them agree with killing sharks. One is missing her arm, another his foot and another was attacked by a GW off Oregons coast. The scar went from his ass to his neck…it was a big shark. He died several times on the table, several thousands of stiches.

      I know I take a chance of being hit in the head and dying (more likely than a shark attack), I take a chance of drowning (more likely than a shark attack), I take a chance driving to the surf (more likely than a shark attack). I take these risks every time I go surfing. I know the risks and I accept the risks. If you don’t, don’t surf. No one is forcing you to surf, something of which that has only been around for 1500 yrs or so, these sharks have no choice, they’ve been doing their thing for 100 million+ years.

      I see the emotional impetus behind these killings, it’s just that the science doesn’t support it aside from the moral imperative.

  • Gareth

    This is yet another display of the human superiority complex at work. Humans want to frolic in the waves and partake in pleasure sports such as surfing, so we deem the safety of these activities more crucial to humanity than maintaining the symbiosis of the ocean that we rely so heavily upon… brilliant. And as for Colin Barnett making such uneducated, misguided and damaging remarks like “…This is, after all, a fish—let’s keep it in perspective.” one has to wonder whether he has any understanding of biology or ecology at all.
    Most surfers know the dangers associated with surfing and are content in their decision to enter the water at their own risk.

  • blake

    i have a mate in west oz he said when you get out of the water you text your wife and tell her you’re fine , its bad . all you environmentalist i doubt you would even get in the water

    • saweet

      uh, then don’t get in the water. so you shoot a bunch of sharks, fuck up the eco system — you don’t think some will “swim” over ? jeezus — totally insane and makes ZERO sense.

  • James

    So why cant we just shoot (Human) murderers on land. Lets keep it in perspective!

  • KT

    If any of you who don’t live in west oz want to come down here and get involved I’m happy to do a house swap. Especially if you live someplace with good waves and warm water where you don’t fear for your life every time you go for a surf. The way that the local government here is handling the situation is wrong but the reality of how many massive great whites there are here in our surf zones is terrifying. In all sincerity before you pass judgement On people here who are calling for action come live and surf in our area. I live in Dunsborough…any takers for a house swap? Ill even lend you my 4wd and give you guide to all our best sharky as $@#% breaks!

    • saweet

      sorry, still no reason to indiscriminately kill WILDLIFE — to make it comfortable for yourself. You DON’t need to surf to SURVIVE.

  • andy

    people need to understand the facts and situation and make up their own minds, this is not an extermination of a species through culling, it is a measure to reduce potential threats to our beaches. the drumlines are set 1km out from the beach and with the size of the hooks they are using will only catch sharks of a certain size/ the ones that are looking for a meal near popular beaches. plus haven’t drumlines been used in QLD and NSW for the last couple of decades ?? why is it ok over in the east but not in the west where shark attacks have become too frequent? Also a drumline is only after large sharks compare this to netting beaches which can harm other marine life. being a surfer in west oz.. its about time something was done

    • Galleybrook

      As usual you have a bunch of people responding to min bits of information. People learn the full story on your own before jumping to an opinion.

  • Nicole Wagner

    Considering the whole idea was proposed originally by the Fisheries Minister (who no doubt has ulterior motives) the whole thing stinks to high heaven.

  • Ryan

    Nets, repellent, skis. Not extermination.

  • Paul S

    To all the guys here who are against any kind of shark cull, let me create a little scenario for you: Someone is swimming in the ocean, (let’s say it’s your mate, or a family member). A shark approaches, and is poised to attack, circling the human. [Hit the pause button.]

    Whose life is more valuable in this situation? What would you choose to do if you had the power to either: 1. kill the shark by shooting it and save the life of the human, or 2. Choose not to act and therefore allow the shark to attack, kill and eat the friend/family member?

    You’re all kidding yourselves.

    • Matt

      Your kidding yourself if you think this is a scenario that could or would possibly ever happen. Almost all shark attacks occur without the victim being aware they are being stalked let alone anyone else knowing. Your scenario and questions are ridiculous, as is catching and shooting sharks. If you’re worried about your family or mate getting attacked then stay out of the ocean.

      • Paul S

        Well that’s funny, I notice in Queensland they’ve been doing essentially what WA is doing now for about half a century, yet it seems no one has been concerned about that. Why is that? In Queensland there has only been only one fatal shark attack on a controlled beach since 1962, and only one at a protected beach in NSW since 1951. So it’s clearly working.

  • Gareth

    I’m going to have to sit on the fence here!!!I def don’t agree with the needless culling of sharks and i don’t think this is the right way to go,but until its you surfing in this exact area where you are in severe danger i don’t think you are qualified to make a call.Its very easy to say save the sharks sitting on your laptop thousands of miles away with no danger whilst you surf.99% of surfers will be anti cull but the 1% who have to deal with it everyday might not be!!The council are blamed if they don’t protect the public and blamed if they do.A tricky one indeed.

  • Eddie

    I have been face to face many times. Never an encounter. I like Ryan’s answer. Nets, repellent, skis. Not extermination. Actually, Nets & Ski’s alone are a great solution. Not sure about repellant.