Great Whites' protected status questioned

2012-07-15 22:57
 Surfer Ben Linden who was killed in a shark attack near Wedge Island. Picture: Facebook Source: PerthNow

Surfer Ben Linden who was killed in a shark attack near Wedge Island. Picture: Facebook Source: PerthNow

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Beaches remained closed on Sunday along Australia's west coast after a fatal shark attack that has reignited debate over whether Great Whites should remain a protected species.

A surfer was bitten in half in a savage attack on Saturday, the fifth such fatality in the region in less than a year.

The man was surfing near Wedge Island, north of Perth, with a friend when he was mauled by the huge shark, said to be up to 5m long, suffering severe and extensive injuries.

A man jet-skiing near the surfers said it was a gruesome scene, with "half a torso" all that remained of the victim.

Local marine scientists have described Australia's west coast as the deadliest shark attack zone in the world and Western Australia Fisheries Minister Norman Moore expressed concern at the trend of fatalities.

"We have allocated Aus$14m extra to get a better understanding of the Great White sharks and the reasons why the fatalities are occurring," he told reporters.

"I wonder if research might tell us that there are now much greater number of Great Whites than ever before, and maybe we should look at whether they should remain a protected species.

"This is a very distressing event and to add to the previous four fatalities, it is of great concern to me and to the fisheries department, indeed the government as a whole."

A tagging and tracking programme was introduced last year and has shown sharks can linger off Australia's west coast for months at a time.

Domain of the shark

Moore said he was open to "any suggestions from anybody as to where we go to now, because we seriously have got a problem".

After the last fatal attack in March, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett ruled (out) a culling programme, saying it was impossible to protect all people at all times.

"While it's still a rare occurrence, the ocean is the domain of the shark and we go there with a risk always," he said at the time.

Sharks are a common feature of Australian waters but fatal attacks are rare.

Experts say the average number of attacks in Australia - about 15 a year, with at least one being fatal - have increased in line with population growth and the popularity of water sports.

The 24-year-old killed on Saturday has not been officially named but his girlfriend posted a tribute to him on Facebook.

"I'm devastated to let everyone know that my beautiful man... was the surfer who was taken by the shark at Wedge," she said.

"He was the love of my life, my best friend, my rock and my soulmate.

"Let's remember that he was doing something that meant the world to him. Surfing was his soul, his life, his culture and his passion."

Read more on:    australia  |  nature  |  marine life

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.