Since Western Australia has introduced its shark cull policy and set up baited drum lines off the coasts of its popular beaches, a total of 66 sharks were captured, but no great white shark was caught. According to Fisheries Minister Ken Baston, 63 tiger sharks were caught on the drum lines which made the shark species account for 95 per cent of the total catch.
In the first three weeks of Western Australia's controversial shark culling, nearly 75 per cent of sharks caught in baited drum lines that measured below three metres. Nine sharks were found dead out of 49 undersized sharks, while the rest were released back into the water.
Mr Baston said that a total of 13 sharks longer than three metres were killed by Fisheries officers and contractors patrolling the drum lines.
Great white sharks, the species responsible for fatal shark attacks in Western Australia, were neither caught nor found in baited drum lines. The biggest shark caught in the baited lines was a 4.1 metre tiger shark.
Sea Shepherd Australia Jeff Hansen said Western Australia's efforts in releasing undersized sharks out into the open may not be helping at all. He said his organisation has seen sharks with cuts in their heads from the hooks. They may not survive because of the wounds they sustained or may have difficulty in feeding themselves.
First shark killed with four gunshots on Australia Day
As Australia celebrated Australia Day in January, a large shark had been shot dead off the western coast. It was 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.
Thousands of shark cull protesters had shown up with hand-painted posters, shark hats and other shark-related paraphernalia on Manly Beach on Feb 2. The crowd of Australians on Perth beaches was one of the several protests held across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to denounce Western Australia's shark cull policy.
To contact the editor, e-mail: