Thursday, 30 January 2014

Western Australia shark cull protesters remove bait from drum lines

Activists have taken action after the first shark is caught, shot and taken out to sea as part of controversial cull program

Shark cull activists have removed bait from drum lines in Western Australia's south-west after the first shark caught on the line was killed on Australia Day.

A three-metre female tiger shark was shot four times in the head, dragged out to sea and dumped after being caught a kilometre off Meelup Beach less than a day after the drum lines were set.

The fisherman who took the tender for the south-west said the shark was a threat to public safety and had to be removed.

"I'll continue to do it and then hopefully later we'll perhaps be able to take some samples or contribute in some way to knowledge and better understanding," he told Fairfax radio on Monday.

The fisherman, who asked not to be named, said protesters had kept away from his vessel and he believed the shark died quickly.

"I was satisfied that I managed to get the rounds in the right place and we dispatched it as quickly as we possibly could," he said.

But the president of West Australians for Shark Conservation, Ross Weir, said it was an inhumane way of killing the animal and about 22 activists were keeping an eye on the fisherman's activities.

"They have been out on the water and they have removed baits from the lines," he said.

Weir said the fisherman did not have experience with sharks and his .22 rifle was not an appropriate gun.

Sea Shepherd Australia’s managing director, Jeff Hansen, said it was a cruel and painful death for the shark, which could have been stuck for hours.

"How can we condemn Japan for the indiscriminate killing of whales and dolphins, and do this to our precious protected marine life here in Australia?" he said. "This method is utterly cruel and inhumane and these animals can take many hours to die."

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