File this one under “over the top” response. According to Perth’s The Sunday Times, Western Australia Government’s Shark Hazard Committee has revealed revealed a plan of attack for dealing with “rogue sharks.”
According to Tina Thorne, WA Department of Fisheries strategic compliance manager, the series of actions for dealing with rogue sharks would involve hooking an offending shark on a baited drumline, hauling it aboard a boat, shooting it in the head, and then “severing its spinal cord and bleeding it out.” Thorne stated that these measures would be a “last resort” and only take place in extreme circumstances involving a rogue shark attacking a human and continuing to pose a significant threat to humans, AND the attacking shark would have to be positively identified. Thorne also stated that since white sharks are a protected species that “a special exemption from the law was required by Fisheries Minister Norman Moore to kill one.”
In 3 of the last 4 fatal shark attacks in WA, the shark responsible was never spotted. Only in the case of an attack on Brian Guest did the shark remain in the area after the attack. According to The Sunday Times article, Guest’s family was angered by the Shark Hazard Committee’s recent talks of killing sharks. A friend of the Guest family said that Guest’s wife and son stood by the idea that “sharks belong in the marine environment and should not be harmed.”
While I certainly believe that protecting humans from shark attacks is a serious and important issue. The idea of hunting a specific shark down, shooting it in the head, severing its spine, and bleeding it out seems so ridiculous that I would expect to find the idea in a really bad shark-themed horror movie. Instead, we find the idea coming from a government committee assigned with the task of dealing with real-world shark attacks. Even Ms. Thorne’s comments seem to indicate that the circumstances that would result in this method of response ever occurring seemed highly unlikely. Based on The Sunday Times article it seems like the only time these measures would be considered would be if a shark similar to the one in a certain famous shark movie showed up, attacked a human, and then continued to terrorize a beach area. I guess anything is possible, but I wonder why there was no mention of hiring a local crusty shark hunter to get the job done. I guess they didn’t want him interrupting the Shark Hazard Committee meeting by scratching his fingernails on the chalkboard.