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Shark chokes on sea lion off WA coast

A four-metre white shark found dead on a West Australian beach appears to have choked on a large sea lion, the state's Department of Fisheries says.

The male shark was found washed ashore at Coronation Beach, about 28km north of Geraldton, earlier this week.

A YouTube video of the distressed animal thrashing around in the shallows has been viewed thousands of times.

The department's principal research scientist Rory McAuley said on Thursday the shark had no visible signs of injury or disease, but seemed to have a big sea lion stuck in its throat.

"This could explain why the shark was exhibiting such unusual behaviour in shallow waters," Dr McAuley said.

"It is possible that the shark was trying to dislodge the blockage."

He said such a large object may have damaged the shark's internal organs or impeded water flow into his gills, contributing to his death.

Alternatively, the shark may have accidentally become stranded in his bid to get rid of the obstruction.

The department said the shark was tagged in South Australia in January.

"Confirmation of when and where this shark was tagged demonstrates the extraordinarily mobile nature of this species," Dr McAuley said.

Greens MP Lynn MacLaren pounced on the news as she continued to campaign against the WA government's controversial shark culling program, which it ran last summer and seeks to extend for a further three years.

"We heard that several members of the public repeatedly tried to save a great white that had stranded itself off the beach, at some personal risk to themselves," Ms MacLaren said.

"One must assume that these beachgoers are not part of the Premier's imagined `silent majority' who support his desire to exterminate large sharks off our beaches."