Premier Colin Barnett has defended the Government's management of sharks at Perth's suburban beaches, saying swimmers always took a risk when they entered the ocean.
Mr Barnett said he would only destroy a shark if it continued to pose a threat by remaining close to shore after it had attacked.
He said he was opposed to the erection of shark nets because it was possible smaller sharks could slip inside and be trapped by the nets, heightening the danger to beachgoers.
He expressed sympathy to the family and friends of 64-year-old Bryn Martin, who police believe may have been taken by a 3m great white shark off Cottesloe Beach yesterday.
Cottesloe Beach is in the Premier's electorate and Mr Martin was one of Mr Barnett's constituents, though Mr Barnett said he did not know him.
"That's part of the risk, I guess, of our way of life," Mr Barnett said. "People love to go to the beach, love to swim, and some people like to swim out into relatively deep waters.
"So there is always that risk, and very sadly a life appears to have been lost."
Mr Barnett said the Government had spent an extra $360,000 to increase helicopter patrols of Perth's beaches - but those patrols do not begin until November 1.
The Premier ruled out extending the patrol period.
This shark attack was a long way off the beach and I think it's wrong to assume (patrols) would have made any difference.
"There are sharks in our ocean and we're all aware of that."
Asked about the viability of shark nets, Mr Barnett said they had been considered from time to time but "the general view is they add to risk"."If a smaller shark got on the inside of the net, that really does add to risk," he said.
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