Plan to catch and kill sharks in Australia ignites protests

Jan. 6, 2014 at 5:25 PM   |   Comments

PERTH, Australia, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Protests in Australia have seen thousands of people calling for an end to a government plan to kill large sharks, saying it is not a solution to shark attacks.

The Western Australia government has announced a plan to place baited hooks off popular beaches near Perth that have seen seven fatal shark attacks in three years, the BBC reported Monday.

Around 70 baited hooks on lines one mile off the beaches would be in place by Friday, officials said, under a policy put in place after the death of a surfer and father of two in November.

The plan would proceed despite the protests, Acting Premier Kim Hames said, taking issue with those who characterized it as a cull.

"If it were a cull we would be out catching sharks the length and breadth of the state," he said. "We are concentrating on the areas where the public are frequent users."

Any shark longer than 10 feet caught on the hooks -- which could include great white, tiger and bull sharks -- would be shot and disposed of, officials said.

Protesters said they would conduct ongoing demonstrations against the plan.

"We're better than killing wildlife in vengeance," one protester said at a demonstration in Melbourne. "We need to use the science that's there, to work with the science that's there, to learn to live with these creatures instead of culling them."

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