Tuesday, July 17, 2012




The state government's response to the latest shark attack tragedy should not involve a general cull of Great White Sharks.

Instead, only 'rogue' sharks that have lost their fear of humans and interact with people and their boats should be culled.

The Busselton Naturalists Club held a lengthy debate among members after local Busselton man Peter Kurmann was killed by a shark in March.

The Club agreed that there was no justification for a general cull of Great White Sharks as this could result in the death of sharks that had never been involved in past attacks.

Instead, individual sharks that have a prior history of interaction with humans, such as visiting boats, biting on their propellers or threatening divers, should be culled.

The Club also called on the state government to do more than just adopt a knee-jerk culling policy.

According to Club president Bernie Masters, who was a fisheries inspector in the 1970s, the government needs to adopt a detailed and comprehensive policy that goes beyond just culling.

"The Club supports the government's current program of tagging sharks to obtain a better understanding of Great White behaviour," Mr Masters said.

"In addition, the research program should include developing methods to allow identification of individual sharks using visual methods, so that fishers and divers can attempt to identify problem sharks by methods other than electronic tags," he said.

"In particular, the government should make it illegal to feed sharks or otherwise encourage them to be attracted to boats, as this will encourage them to interact with humans and lose their fear of people."

"Ultimately, of course, if a particular shark is shown to have attacked a human being, then culling is an unfortunate but necessary action."

"But a general cull of large Great White Sharks is not scientifically justified and the state government needs to do more than it's current level of research and investigation."

Bernie Masters
Busselton Naturalists Club
0408 944 242

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