Thousands of shark cull protesters have 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.
Western Australia has been exempt by the federal government from environmental laws, a move which allowed the state to catch and shoot large sharks in baited drum lines placed one kilometre from the coast. Following a string of fatal shark attacks in two years, the Western Australian government has decided to push for a shark cull policy.
Shark cull protests were held in at least 10 locations across Australia, including Melbourne, Adelaide, Cottlesloe, Hobart, Broome and Perth in Western Australia, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Shark cull activists had more ammunition 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. When Fisheries officers placed the bait on Jan 31, a one-metre tiger shark got caught in the lines just hours after hooking the bait.
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.
Shark cull protest co-organiser Sharnie Connell said the number of people who turned out in various locations only showed that there is wide concern for Western Australia's shark policy. Ms Connell remarked that people from all walks of life were in the event and not just the "hippies."
Meanwhile, South Australia maintains its stand not to implement shark baiting in its waters. Acting Environment Minister Leon Bignell said shark culling will only lead to the destruction of other marine life. Mr Bignell described shark-baiting as something that "doesn't make sense."