No to culling great whites
No to culling great whites

Great white sharks should not be culled, according to a poll by thewest.com.au.

In one of the biggest responses to a west.com.au poll, 83 per cent (more than 6600 people) who participated in the poll did not support tracking and culling sharks.

Only 12 per cent (819 people) believed that great whites should be culled.

Critics believed the money, time and effort would be better spent on increased helicopter patrols, more research and deterrents such as shark repellents, the creation of beach pools and education campaigns.

Even West Coast star Nic Naitanui has entered the debate, tweeting this week: "Leave our sharks alone. The ocean's their home."

He wants ocean pools built.

The poll came as it emerged Department of Fisheries experts have all but ruled out a theory that one rogue shark has been hunting swimmers and surfers along the WA coast.

The idea of a rogue shark was discussed at a shark forum organised by Channel 7's Today Tonight.

Senior shark scientist Rory McAuley said that, based on best estimation of the sizes of sharks involved in some of the most recent attacks, the same shark "almost certainly could not have been responsible".

Dr McAuley said individual sharks could not be identified from bite marks in the way humans could be identified from fingerprints.

"Sharks have multiple rows of teeth that are replaced by continual growth and wear," he said.

"Thus, sharks' teeth continually change their relative positions to one another and bite marks are not static, they literally change from one day to another."

Dr McAuley said it was even difficult to estimate a species or size of shark responsible for an attack depending on what evidence could be recovered.

He said bite marks varied from single tooth punctures and single or multiple lacerations to partial or full bite arcs.

"Because obtaining a full representation of a shark bite is not always possible, even estimating the species or size of culprit sharks is far from guaranteed," he said.

And, unlike a database for human fingerprints, Fisheries was not aware of a database for sharks.

The West Australian

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