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Australian Officials Call for Mass Killing of Sharks After Attack on 17-Year-Old

Apr 21, 2017 12:27 PM EDT
Prize Shark
A fisherman kneels beside a dead shark lying belly up on a quayside.
(Photo : Fox Photos/Getty Images)

The recent shark attack in Australia, which killed Laeticia Brouwer, a 17-year-old teenager surfing at a popular surfer break known as Kelp Beds, has fueled a debate whether the government should resort to shark culling.

According to the Australian Marine Conservation Society, culling was used earlier in Western Australia to capture and kill sharks. It involves the use of baited drumlines. Once the shark gets into the trap, they will be shot or killed.

Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and O'Connor MP Rick Wilson were among the first ones to say that the WA government should use the culling as a technique to prevent more shark attacks.

"After 15 shark fatalities in less than 20 years in Western Australia it's time the [WA] Government put people first and sharks second," Frydenberg said, according to ABC News.

"Be it more nets, drum lines, or indeed culling, in order to protect Western Australians from the threat of the great white shark," he added, citing that he is amenable to any strategy.

BBC said shark culling was put in place in the state in 2014. During that time, 170 sharks were caught but none of them was a great white. The program was halted by environmentalists and animal conservationists at the forefront.

Meanwhile, the Senate inquiry into shark attack prevention and mitigation began its hearing in Perth on Thursday, earlier than the previous schedule. It was presided by the committee's chairman, Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson.

Talking to The Guardian, Surf Life Saving Western Australia's general manager, Chris Peck, said, "Our job is to preserve life that is why we exist as an organization."

"This particular issue... we want to see that there is tried and tested and proven outcomes before we implement anything and we just don't see that at the moment for meshing, drum lines, or culling," Peck added.

Peck said that other than the inhumane culling or baited drumlines, the government should focus on research and development, education and awareness, surveillance, communication, preventative action and emergency response.

Amid the inquiry, environmentalists are in the process of convincing authorities to list shark culling and the use of drum lines as threats to endangered species under the federal law.

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