ROTTNEST ISLAND (AUSTRALIA)- White sharks off the Western Australian coast have a price on their heads. After the third fatal shark, Texan diver George Thomas Wainwright last weekend, attack in two months, the Western Australian government has ordered any great white sharks spotted off the south west coast to be killed.
Earlier this month, 64-year-old businessman Bryn Martin disappeared while swimming at Perth’s popular Cottesloe Beach. Last month, 21-year-old bodyboarder Kyle Burden was killed near Bunker Bay by a 4.5 metre-long shark.
It is believed that is the same shark responsible for all three attacks. The government has set a death sentence on the rogue shark. But any great white that show its dorsal fin above the water will be killed.
Desperation and dismay has been Australian Fisheries Minister Norman Moore’s reaction to the mounting death toll from suspected great white attacks. Moore said so many fatalities in such a relatively short time was “a very rare event”.
Despite white sharks being an endangered species the Western Australian Government now takes to harsh measures to ensuring safety to its coastal waters. If this will help, no one really knows.
Historically, sharks kill fewer than one swimmer a year on average in Australian waters. Geoff Burgess from Florida University’s programme for shark research says there are better ways of approaching the problem than killing sharks. He says the efforts would be better directed into producing education campaigns for divers and beach users.
Burgess also informed the government that the area of water is well known to be frequented by whales and following white sharks at this time of year.
The evidence of the presence of great whites around Rottnest Island is proven by the camera recordings of an investigation team.
Rare video footage was taken by University of Western Australia researchers near Cathedral Rocks at the island’s western tip – the same stretch of coast where an American diver was killed at Little Armstrong Bay last weekend.
The 2008 project involved placing baits and underwater cameras to record marine life at different locations between Esperance and the Abrolhos Islands, off Geraldton.