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Australian Towns Calling for Shark Culls in the Face of Rising Attacks

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Two Australian towns are now calling for a shark cull.

Two Australian coastal towns that have earned an ugly reputation as the “shark attack capital of Australia” now have many residents calling for a cull in response.

The coastal communities are Ballina and Byron Bay, and they have seen an increase in attacks in recent years. This includes the fatal one on 16-year-old Peter Edmonds back in 2008. Now many feel that old wounds have been re-opened in the brutal attack on another teenager last month.

“You just think ‘here we go again,’” Lisa Edmonds, Peter’s mother, told the Telegraph.

She’s not alone, after fatal attacks in 2014 and 2015, and the attack on 17-year-old Cooper Allen last month, some surfers and even former prime minister Tony Abbott are getting behind the calls for preventative measures like nets and perhaps even a cull of sharks.

“Frankly, if it’s a choice between people and animals, I’m going on the side of the people every time,” Abbot told the Telegraph.

Federal environmental minister Josh Frydenberg is also on board with the idea of putting humans first, and the Telegraph reports New South Wales’ state government is feeling the pressure of surfers and other locals wanting to see things like hired shooters or even poisoned baits used to bring down shark numbers.

But the cull also has its detractors. “Although people may see culling and meshing as a quick fix, culling does not prevent shark attacks from occurring and installing a shark net in our region would very likely lead to large numbers of dolphin deaths,” said Tamara Smith, a Greens MP.

It’s probably not surprising such a plan would be met with scorn based on recent reactions to shark fishing, even when legally done. Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faced a lot of internet wrath after posting photos of a legally-caught thresher shark to his Twitter feed.

Groups like the humane society have been gaining ground in recent years in their fight against shark fishing tournaments.

What do you think? Could a cull be an effective way of reducing the dangers of shark attacks?

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Australian Towns Calling for Shark Culls in the Face of Rising Attacks