Mayor Wants to “Terminate” Sharks Responsible for Recent Attacks

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Sharks have recently been terrorizing people in southern Australia, prompting one local mayor to put forward an unorthodox solution: a targeted shark cull. 

According to ABC News, there have been a whopping six serious shark attacks in the past eight months in southern Australia; three of those were fatal. Most recently, a 64-year-old surfer was bit in the leg in the waters off of Elliston in early January. Several weeks before that, a 15-year-old surfer was killed by a shark near the Yorke Peninsula, which is near Elliston. Great white sharks are suspected to be the primary culprits in these recent incidents. 

The spate of attacks prompted Elliston Mayor Andrew McLeod to put forward a new management tactic: tracking down and killing the sharks responsible for the attacks. “If fisheries officers were able to attempt to terminate a shark following an attack, that would be a targeted approach,” he said. “Trying to terminate the shark responsible for the attack would not risk the survival of the species as a whole.”

This isn’t the first time McLeod has put forward a shark cull. He first did so in 2014 following a close call between himself and a great white. “It is ridiculous that they’re classified as endangered and they should be harvested like every other resource,” he said. “It is an absolute fluke that I didn’t get killed.”

According to some experts, however, McLeod’s proposal is likely ineffective. “It’s unlikely authorities would ever be able to hunt down the individual shark involved in [a] fatality,” wrote environmental scientist Daryl McPhee for The Conversation. 

Additionally, contrary to popular belief, scientists say that great white sharks do not get a taste for human flesh. Scientists widely believe that most shark attacks are the result of “mistaken identity,” or because sharks confuse people with typical prey items like seals, though some researchers have recently challenged that hypothesis.

Read Next: Scallop Diver Killed by Shark Off the Coast of Mexico

According to the International Shark File, in 2022, Australia recorded the second most unprovoked shark attacks of any country. The U.S. documented the most shark attacks in the world.



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