A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Great Wall of China
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
The Galápagos Islands
19th July 2012
The government in Western Australia may be re-evaluating the endangered status of the great white shark, after the fifth fatal shark attack in a year in the area
An increase in shark attacks off the coast of Western Australia could lead to the great white shark losing its protected status. Usually authorities record one fatal shark attack per year, across Australian waters. This year, five have been reported in Western Australia alone.
The great white shark became a protected species in the 1990s. It has been suggested that numbers have significantly increased, with the increase in shark fatalities being used to back up this theory. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this as of yet.
Norman Moore, Western Australia's Fisheries Minister said the great white sharks: “have been protected by the Commonwealth and by the state for about 20 years because they were considered to be a threatened species. But there seems to be a view that there's an increase in the number of great whites within our waters in recent times.”
Conservationists have suggested that an increase in surfing and other water sports could be to blame, and raise the point that humans are a greater threat to sharks than sharks are to humans. They estimate around 40 million sharks are killed by humans every year.
Chairman of The Shark Trust and the Shark Conservation Society Richard Peirce commented that, while the exact number of great white sharks is unknown, "We do know they can be considered critically endangered." He described the reaction to blame the attacks on an increase in numbers and therefore to allow the killing of some sharks as "wrong and disproportionate".
He suggested that, rather than an increase in shark numbers, for which there is no real hard scientific evidence, it is much more probable that the increase in attacks is due to the increasing human population. He also referenced other factors such as wetsuits, the introduction of which "has meant that surfers can spend a lot longer in water", making more likely the "possibility of a human-shark encounter".
Jenita Enevoldsen of The Wilderness Society described the Western Australian government's response as “an extremely short-sighted approach to what could become [a] long-term problem.”
“The sharks that have protection in Western Australia need to remain protected,” she added.
She said that it was “highly improbable” that the great white shark population has risen, as the species has only been protected for little over a decade. “Further research into marine climate change could be hugely beneficial into understanding why we are seeing more sharks closer to our beaches.
“Kim Hames’ (Western Australia's Tourism Minister) call for a hunt and kill of a protected shark – to protect our tourism is ludicrous... We will be calling for the protected status of the great white to be held, and for the government to run awareness raising campaigns about the changes to our oceans and how we can stay safe in our coastal waters".
For increasing shark safety awareness and investing in shark activity research, £9 million has been allocated. Peirce said: "There's a lot humans can do to help ensure their own safety," such as not being in the water at dawn or dusk, avoiding areas where sharks are likely to be patrolling or attracted to (such as places where fish catch is discarded), sticking to well-patrolled beaches and using electronic repellants that are available.
Shark nations are failing conservation targets | News... More
Shark feeding frenzy closes beach in Perth | News... More
Cape Town beaches on shark alert | News... More
The world's beaches with the most bite | News... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Guide to boat trips and travel by boat, including boat trip holiday advice, water safari and wildlife boat trip info
Volunteer and conservation travel guide, including info on voluntourism, how to give back on your travels, how to get started with travel volunteering and more
Koalas, kangaroos and wallabies call it home. Craig Wickham gives the lowdown on hiking Australia’s new Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail, including practical advice, when to go and top tips…
On the 30th anniversary of Bruce Chatwin’s inspiring travelogue, Songlines, we delve into Australia’s Aboriginal heartlands to explore its ancient trails
Incredible birdlife. Ancient rock art. Wild rapids. We head north from Cape Town to discover there’s more to South Africa’s buzziest area than the eastern Winelands…
Best country. Best city. Favourite airline. Top TV show. Best tour operator. Wanderlust’s readers have spoken, in the Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards 2017, and here are the results…
From turtle projects to elephant sanctuaries, we celebrate the great work being done in sustainable and green travel in Thailand. Here are the winners of 2016's Winners of Thailand's Green Excellence Awards UK
Wanderlust is keen to hear from travel bloggers currently on (or about to start) extraordinary, original adventures. Get in touch...
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
SAVE 10% online with Rohan
Save up to £600 per couple on Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
Combined Japan and South Korea Small Group Tour - get a taste of Japan before you travel with a £50 Wagamama voucher with every booking
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too