Canberra, April 19 (IANS) The Australian government has not ruled out a shark cull in response to another surfer’s death off the coast of Western Australia, the Environment Minister said on Wednesday.
Laeticia Brouwer, 17, died on Monday when a great white shark mauled her near Esperance city. She is Western Australia’s 15th victim of a great white shark attack in the last 20 years, Xinhua news agency reported.
In response to the death, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said protecting human life had to come “first and foremost”.
According to him, the government would “welcome” any plan that members of the public have to lower the risk of injury or death while in the surf.
“In light of the recent shark attack the (federal government) would welcome any proposal to protect human life first and foremost.”
The minister said options include culling the sharks responsible for ending human life, introducing hooked drumline technology or any “other measures which Western Australia sees fit”.
However, Western Australia government said it would not deploy drum lines following Brouwer’s death.
“They don’t actually make our beaches any safer,” BBC quoted Western Australia Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly as saying.
Western Australia has previously employed drumline technology to cull sharks. In 2014, a controversial, 200-km drumline was introduced along a stretch of coastline often used by humans.
A drum line is a trap consisting of large baited hook attached to a floating object, which is anchored to the sea floor.
The plan came under fire from environmentalists and marine conservationists as they were deemed to be cruel.
Western Australia is one of the nation’s biggest hot spots for fatal shark attacks.