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Western Australia Ending Its Controversial Shark Cull

Western Australia's controversial shark cull has been blocked by the state government's Environmental Protection Authority.
Posted at 1:28 PM, Sep 13, 2014

Officials in Western Australia are ending their controversial shark-cull program.

According to several reports, the cull was stopped after the state government's Environmental Protection Authority advised against it, citing "a high degree of scientific uncertainty" about the impact it would have on the great white shark population.

The idea was to capture great whites using baited hooks on drum lines along Western Australia's beaches to keep beachgoers safe after a series of fatal attacks. (Video via Sunrise Channel 7)

The latest death occurred earlier this week when a 50-year-old British man was killed by a shark while swimming in Byron Bay, a popular tourist destination.

Quartz reports there have been seven fatal attacks in Western Australia in three years.

The Guardian reports the government's own environmental assessment believed the drum lines would capture about 25 great white sharks during a test trial that took place from January to April.

The program did catch a significant number of sharks — 172, to be exact — but none of them were great whites. More than 50 sharks were reportedly killed, and the rest were released. (Video via Discovery)

The cull was controversial long before the EPA's recommendation, with critics arguing it could damage the marine ecosystem and endanger the great white shark population. (Video via BBC)

PROTESTER TO EURONEWS: "We believe it's 2014, and we're beyond that now. We're better than killing wildlife in vengeance."

The BBC notes others saw the cull as nothing more than a political stunt by Western Australia's premier, Colin Barnett.

Barnett ordered the cull earlier this year and has defended it ever since. Even after the EPA announced its recommendation, he said he doesn't believe beachgoers will be safe and warned against "rogue shark" attacks. (Video via ABC Australia)

A comment his opponents say is fear mongering, considering the Western Australian government's website states that "rogue" sharks only exist in movies like "Jaws."

Despite Barnett's opposition, he told reporters Friday an appeal on the government's decision to halt the cull is unlikely. But it will continue to be legal for authorities to kill any so-called "rogue sharks" if they approach any beaches.