Shark cull activists will have more reason to protest Western Australia's controversial shark-killing policy, following news of sharks smaller than three feet were caught in baited drum lines around Perth beaches.
After the Western Australian government has declared that only large sharks will be culled, the baited lines with large hooks seem to attract and catch smaller sharks. After Fisheries officers placed bait on Jan 31, a one-metre tiger shark got caught in the lines just hours after.
According to Sky News, there were no signs of shark cull protesters, but the floating media pack saw three Fisheries officers bring the tiger shark aboard to check its condition and size before releasing it back into the water. Another undersized shark was caught in the lines moments later, but officers also released it.
On Australia Day, a fisherman tasked to monitor the drum lines shot a shark four times in the head, making it the first shark to be killed by Western Australia's shark cull 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 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 paper reports claimed the shark was shot four times in the head at close range.
The fisherman who was contracted to watch the drum lines said the shark had to be removed because it was a threat to public safety. The unnamed fisherman told reporters he will continue to shoot sharks caught in the lines and hopes in the future some samples can be taken as a contribution to knowledge.
West Australians for Shark Conservation President Ross Weir declared shooting a shark was inhumane. Around 22 shark cull activists were watching the fisherman as they removed bait from the lines to prevent sharks from being caught in the lines.