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Shark Attack Survivor Calls for Cull, Reignites Long Standing Debate in Australia

Apr 20, 2017 12:01 PM EDT
Demonstrators Protest Against WA Shark Culling Policy
The Australian government is willing to accept proposals of measures to prevent fatal sharks attacks to happen again. Culling has its own supporters and detractors as well.
(Photo : Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Australia may have to deal with sharks in a different way after a shark attack survivor calls for culls. The Federal Environment Minister is willing to open the long-standing debate on shark culling after Laeticia Brouwer, 17, was fatally killed by a shark in Western Australia last Monday, April 17.

The shark attack is already the third to occur in a span of 12 months. Because of this, the residents call for stricter measures, and the government appears to be open to changes.

"In light of the recent shark attack the Commonwealth would welcome any proposal to put human life first," Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said in an interview with BBC. "This could include the newest drum line technology, shark exclusion nets, culling or other measures which WA sees fit."

The state, however, is not too keen in culling sharks and is pushing for the use of personal devices and shields -- a lesser traumatizing method compared to culling and using drum lines. In culling, the sharks may be killed because it may endanger other species. A method that does not sit well with animal rights activists and has always been a controversial issue in Australia.

The death of Brouwer prompted residents and the government to look into possible measures to curb fatal sharks attacks. Brouwer was attacked by a yet-to-be-identified shark.

In 2014, a culling technique was conducted along seven beaches in Australia but was stopped by an environment regulation. The effort caught 170 sharks but no fatal great white shark was captured.

"We take comfort in the fact that Laeticia died doing something that she loved," Steve Evans, the victim's uncle, said. "The ocean was here and her family's passion. Surfing was something that she treasured doing with her dad and her sisters."

Despite the fatal shark attack, other lobbyists want to list shark culling and the use of drum lines as threat to endangered species, according to a report.

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