As Australia celebrates Australia Day, a large shark has been shot dead off the western coast. It is the first shark to be killed since Western Australia was given the signal to go ahead with its shark culling policy.
According to local reports, the dead shark was identified as a female tiger shark, measuring 10 feet or three metres-long. The tiger shark was caught on the shark lines installed around Western Australia's coast. The first shark was killed off Meelup Beach, near Dunsborough.
Western Australian government spokesperson Simon Beaumont said a fisherman who was tasked to patrol the drum lines shot the shark and dumped the dead body in the sea. Local papers reports claimed the shark was shot four times in the head at close range.
The Australian national government has exempt the state of Western Australia from environmental laws last week, giving the state permission to set up baited drum lines with hooks off popular beaches until the end of 2014.
Local marine experts have called Western Australia waters as the world's deadliest place for shark attacks after six fatal incidents in the last two years.
Western Australia previously declared that sharks longer than 10 feet or 3 meters will be captured and treated as a threat. The Great White, tiger and bull sharks caught on the lines will be killed "humanely."
Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt said people should take necessary precautions when swimming, surfing or boating. Referring to Western Australia's exemption from environmental laws, Hunt added some shark attacks have brought a series of tragedies. He noted there was evidence to prove a significant increase in shark-related incidents in West Australia.
Despite the Western Australian government's defence of its shark culling policy, environmentalists continue to protest and insist there is no concrete evidence that killing sharks will reduce attacks. They claim that shark culling will only give beach goers a "false sense of security."
The Conservation Council of Western Australia believes the shark cull policy will only attract public backlash. Council Director Piers Verstegen remarked that public protests will increase once people see images or hear stories of sharks being killed in bait lines.
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett was heckled at a Perth event after news of the first shark to be killed from bait lines broke out. Mr Barnett declared he gets "no pleasure" from seeing dead sharks and firmly said he is only doing his responsibility to protect the people.
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