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Shark Attack Survivor Speaks Out Against Shark Cull

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After seven shark attack fatalities along its shores in the past three years, the government of West Australia is moving forward with a controversial plan to cull the animals in a misguided attempt to improve swimmer safety.

Under the proposal put forth by WA Premier Colin Barnett, sharks arriving within a kilometer of beaches would be hooked or shot, despite outcries from marine experts labeling such measures as harmful and ineffective.

Now former navy diver Paul de Gelder, who himself lost his leg and forearm in a bull shark attack in 2009, has joined in opposition to the proposed cull -- calling the plan "one of the stupidest solutions."

"They're not our sharks to kill and they're definitely not Colin Barnett's sharks to kill. It's a natural predator, an apex predator, it's essential to the ecosystem of the ocean," de Gelder tells the Sydney Morning Herald. "It's a wild animal and you want to kill it for doing what it does."

Earlier this month, thousands of Australians gathered on beaches to protest the cull, urging the West Australian government to consider other alternatives that won't disrupt the balance of the ocean ecosystem, a sentiment echoed by de Gelder on his blog:

"The ocean is not our back yard swimming pool and we shouldn't expect it to be one. It's a wondrous, beautiful, dangerous place that provides our planet with all life. It and its inhabitants need protection from those that would do it harm."