Great white sharks have been a protected species in Australian waters for more than a decade, but the latest spate of great white attacks at Western Australian beaches have prompted the government to allow pre-emptive hunts.
“We will always put the lives and safety of beachgoers ahead of the shark,” Western Australian state premier Colin Barnett said yesterday. “This is, after all, a fish – let’s keep it in perspective.”
Barnett said his state had recorded only 12 shark fatalities over the past 100 years, but five of those deaths happened over the past year.
The plan will allow authorities to kill a shark if found close to beachgoers. Sharks could previously only be hunted if there had already been an attack.