In March 2014, a 3.5 metre long female Great White was caught and killed on a drum line during the Quiksilver Pro Goldie right next to Snapper Rocks.
When it comes to life-threatening animals there’s no place like Australia. From deadly venomous spiders and snakes to saltwater crocs and Box jellyfish, nature doesn’t come much more diverse and hostile than Downunder! And sharks of course make up part of the list.
To date Australia reports the second-highest number of shark attacks after the U.S., but in the last few years nearly all fatal attacks have occurred in Western Australia. In contrast to Reunion Island, Great Whites have been responsible for these. Between 2011 and 2012, the state of Western Australia recorded a shocking 5 deaths in just 10 months over a relatively small portion of the coastline.
Many consider bull shark to be the most dangerous shark species to humans as they favour shallow coastal waters, and the murky water conditions in which they like to hunt are often associated with highly populated areas. And yes they can even swim a long way up rivers.
It’s therefore much less clear as to why the Great White attacks are happening other than numbers close to the coast have supposedly increased dramatically. Following in South Africa steps, Australia declared the Great White as a vulnerable species in 1999 due to significant population decline, and some seem to think they’ve recovered well.
Due to the Great White’s protected status, Australia’s recent shark culling policy required a special exemption which many animal-rights activists claimed to be unlawful. In fact, in Australia the shark cull has been met with such fierce opposition that professional fishermen refused to collaborate with the government.
Although W.A.’s shark cull this year failed to catch a single Great White, the government is hoping it can extend the programme to three years.