Aussie Mayor Calls for Shark Blood After Rash of Attacks

Deadly shark attacks have spiked in southern Australia and one elected official is urging retaliative action.

Elliston mayor Andrew McLeod urged state governments to “terminate” sharks responsible for six attacks on swimmers (three fatal) in the past eight months, according to Surfer.

“If fisheries officers were able to attempt to terminate a shark following an attack, that would be a targeted approach…trying to terminate the shark responsible for the attack would not risk the survival of the species as a whole,” McLeod told ABC.

Great white sharks, suspected in many of the recent encounters, are protected in Australia.

On Dec. 30, 15-year-old surfer Khai Cowley died from his wounds in a shark attack near Yorke Peninsula at Ethel Beach.


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Only two months before that, 55-year-old Tod Gendle died in another attack near Sreaky Bay. May 2023 saw another fatal encounter, in which a 46-year-old schoolteacher died.

Identification very difficult

McLeod is calling for a cull, but scientists don’t think it will help.

“You could go out and kill a bunch of sharks and you will never know if you got the one which is responsible…there is no real justice at that point,” Chris Lowe, Director of the Shark Lab at Cal State University Long Beach, told Surfer. “If you look at all the places where shark control has been used successfully…you’re taking out hundreds if not thousands of sharks to do that.”

Other researchers seek to monitor and understand the South Australian great white population. In the southern and western areas of the country, the sharks outnumber their eastern counterparts by about two to one. But because it’s just not as popular to live out west as in some of Australia’s premier eastern beach communities, prospects for change could be slim.

“The east is full of people,” CSIRO shark scientist Russ Bradford told Surfline. “So, it’s a lot easier to work in the east. The distances aren’t as great. There’s support wherever you go. Whereas in the west, there’s a huge area where you’re working remotely, very remotely. And it’s very expensive, unfortunately.”

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.