First shark destroyed under Western Australian catch-and-kill policy

Jan. 26, 2014 at 8:55 AM
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PERTH, Australia, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The first shark has been killed under Western Australia's new catch-and-kill policy, authorities said.

The shark was baited on drum lines set by fishermen off Western Australia's south-west coast Saturday, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.

Authorities said the shark was nearly 10-feet-long, but its species had not been confirmed.

Western Australia officials announced the catch-and-kill policy in December following seven fatal attacks off the state's coast in the past three years. Sharks targeted for killing include great white, bull and tiger sharks measuring more than 10 feet.

State Premier Colin Barnett has voiced support for the policy, citing public safety.

"When you have sharks that are three, four, five meters long of known aggressive varieties, swimming in the water very close to beach-goers, that is an imminent danger," Barnett said. "I get no pleasure out of seeing sharks killed but I have an overriding responsibility to protect the people of Western Australia."

Conservationists harshly criticized the shark hunt.

"This is the first shocking results of a policy which has no science behind it, no evidence that it will actually work and has not had a full investigation of the environmental impacts," Conservation Council spokesman Piers Verstegen told the ABC. "So really this is a very sad day for Western Australia and certainly a very sad day for our sharks."

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