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Shark attack reignites debate about culls off Western Australia


The shark attack was the third in as many weeks in Sydney waters, following previous attacks on a surfer at Bondi Beach and a Navy diver in Sydney Harbour.


Ian Waldie

A fatal shark attack near Perth in Western Australia has reignited debate about whether the animals should be hunted and killed.

Beaches remained closed along a popular surfing stretch of the country on Sunday while the search continued for a ''massive'' great white shark that killed Perth man Benjamin Charles Linden, 24, on Saturday, reported.

The shark was believed to have been around 16 feet long, according to the Australian newspaper, and attacked about 300 feet from shore near Wedge Island, 100 miles south of Perth.

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A man who was jet-skiing nearby told reporters that the Linden was bitten in half and that the shark had circled the body after the attack.

"I reached to grab the body and the shark came at me on the jet ski and tried to knock me off,” Matt Holmes said.

"I did another loop, when I came back to get the body, the shark took it and there was just blood everywhere and there’s nothing I could no."

Linden's remains had not been recovered by Sunday night.

On average, there is one fatal shark attack a year in Australia.

However, Linden's death was the fifth off the country's west coast since September.

The authorities have ruled out any cull, while experts have said the increase in attacks merely corresponds with a rise in the human population.

However, WA Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said the shark that killed Linden should be killed if it's found, Radio New Zealand reported.

Moore also questioned whether the great white should remain a protected species.

The local chapter of the Wilderness Society said taking away the shark's protected status was the wrong approach.

"We need to really understand them and not resort to the Neanderthal reaction of a hunt and kill," spokesperson Janita Enevoldsen said.

The Australian Associated Press cited a spokesman from the Fisheries' Department's Shark Response Unit, Tony Cappelluti, as saying: ''When last seen, the shark was heading offshore, but we have placed baited lines in the water near the attack site, in an attempt to catch the shark should it return to the location or pose a threat in the area."

Eyewitnesses told local police that they had seen the shark swim out to deeper water after the attack.

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