Researchers from University of Florida have weighed in on Western Australia's controversial shark cull, publishing a report that calls the cull "futile" and cites the comparatively low number of attacks in Australia in 2013 -- the lowest number in the past five years. Says the Guardian:
There were 10 shark attacks in Australian waters in 2013 – the lowest annual total since nine in 2008 and lower than the 12.3 average attacks per year during the past 10 years (2003-2012), according to researchers at the University of Florida. Australia's two fatalities in 2013 are in line with its 1.4 yearly average over the same time period.
This number is dwarfed by the U.S., which had the most attacks in 2013 with 47.
"Even if one ignores that an endangered species is involved, the archaic reaction can only be characterized as revenge killings," said George Burgess, from the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File, "Although infrequent, shark attacks are high-profile events that excite the emotions of human beings and often impact a community. Killing 10 sharks after a death is not the answer as it does not result in reduced attacks."
So far, 66 sharks have been caught on the drum lines that dot the waters off Perth's beaches, despite widespread public outcry against the policy.