It was all over the news for a while and Facebook and probably your Twitter feed too. The Western Australia (WA) shark cull.
It all started because of a high number of shark attacks in quick succession in WA, causing the government to act quickly and rashly, imposing a trial lethal drum-line programme. Now after the end of the trial period (January 25th – April 30th 2014) the WA government are proposing to extend it to a 3-year lethal drum line programme. This time however they need to pass a federal environmental assessment unlike the trial which was granted temporary exemption under national environmental law because it was apparently deemed in the “national interest” of protecting public safety.
The outcomes from a similar 16 year lethal long-line programme operated in Hawaii (1959-1976) were ignored. At the end of the Hawaiian cull scientist concluded that it made no difference to shark attacks. It didn’t matter though as the Australian government decided to go ahead with the 13 week trial despite all the facts stacked against them. Using baited drum lines there were horrific scenes as sharks were baited and hooked then dragged out to sea alive and killed.
Over the 13 week trail 172 sharks were killed 163 of these were tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) while zero were white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) the species believed to be those involved in the recent attacks.