Brrrrrr! Those frigid WA waters, what treasures they hold, but also, what danger! With the rate of shark attacks swelling beyond an already-uncomfortable rate (even just one’s bad, yes?), the decision has finally been made to take pre-emptive strikes against great whites swimming too close to Oz’s western Indian Ocean coastline, that are deemed to pose a threat to swimmers. “Previously the orders were used in response to an attack, but now proactive action will be taken if a large white shark presents imminent threat to people,” said Fisheries Minister Norman Moore. Great whites have been protected in Oz waters for over a decade, but after five attacks in the last year, a change was inevitable.
“We will always put the lives and safety of beachgoers ahead of the shark,” WA Premier Colin Barnett today told reporters. “This is, after all, a fish – let’s keep it in perspective.” Barnett also said that while WA had only recorded 12 shark fatalities in the last 100 years, five of those deaths happened in the last year. The $6.85 million plan will also see lifesavers kitted out with more PWCs, more choppers and a tag and release function, so sharks posing a potential threat can be tracked, caught and destroyed. It’s hard to believe this comes a month after French authorities authorised the culling of 20ish sharks in Reunion Island. That plan was stopped by a French law that prohibits fishing in protected marine areas. Will WA’s new united front meet a similar fate (perhaps in the form of conservationists)? Or, will this be a carefree summer for West-Australians?