Shark attacks spark kill orders to protect Aussie beach-goers
The government of Western Australia said it plans to track, catch and if necessary kill sharks threatening beachgoers after a record five fatal attacks in the state in the past year.
Officials will be allowed to destroy sharks “posing an imminent threat,” Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said in an e- mailed statement today as he announced a A$6.85 million ($7.1 million) protection, research and education program. Previously the state only issued kill orders following a shark attack.
Tourism operators in Western Australia are attempting to lure domestic and international visitors to the state’s 12,000- kilometer-long (7,500-mile) coastline, which is studded with pristine beaches. The most recent attack saw a 24-year-old surfer taken by a five-meter great white shark on July 14 off an isolated beach about 160 kilometers north of the state capital Perth. His remains weren’t recovered.
There have been at least 869 shark attacks in the nation since 1791, 216 of them fatal, according to the Australian Shark Attack File based at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. The deaths in Western Australia in the past year include an American scuba-diving tourist, a body boarder and a swimmer at Perth’s Cottesloe Beach, it said.
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