Conservationists denounced Western Australia’s decision to cull sharks after numerous fatal shark attacks off the country’s coast even as a fisherman caught and killed the first shark as part of the new program.
The government is using hooked lines on floating drums to cull sharks, CNN said,
after seven people were killed off the Western Australia coast in the last three years. The Independent reported that the barrels have been laid down in lines around beaches.
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The country’s federal government gave Western Australia an exemption to hunt sharks, including the great white, which is usually protected.
“To think this shark had been in the water for 12 hours, possibly with a big bleeding hook in its mouth suffering, is just ridiculous,” Sea Shepherd spokeswoman Rae Threnoworth told a CNN affiliate.
Australia’s premier Colin Barnett said he doesn’t like killing sharks, but believes his policy puts people first, CNN said.
Activists have said they will block the program and CNN said some media reports indicate that they have removed bait from the lines left in the water.
The Independent said the barriers are located just over a half-mile off the Perth coast and the southwest, and will catch sharks bigger than 3 meters, or more than 9 feet long. They will be left until April in those locations and then will be moved to the Gracetown area.
Many in the online community reacted against the culling program.
More than 10 protests against the shark culling are scheduled to take place Feb. 1.
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