Australia to End Shark Cull Program
No more baited hooks, but government will still go after 'rogue' sharks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2014 2:31 PM CDT
File photo of a great white.   (Shutterstck)

(Newser) – Authorities in Western Australia are scrapping their controversial shark-cull program, reports the BBC. The idea was to catch sharks using baited hooks on drum lines in order to keep beaches safe, but a review by the government's Environmental Protection Authority found little evidence that it worked. In a test trial from January to April, the program caught 172 sharks, but none were great whites, which had been blamed in recent attacks. More than 50 sharks were killed and the rest released.

Critics say drum lines kill indiscriminately and might even make beaches less safe over time, reports Quartz. Still, the premier of Western Australia isn't happy about the EPA's decision, though no appeal is expected, reports the Guardian. “I cannot look the people in the south-west in the face and say, 'Your beaches are safe, your diving [and] surfing conditions are safe’ because I don’t believe they are," says Colin Barnett. The government is expected to ramp up aerial patrols and be on alert for what Barnett calls "rogue sharks" lurking near beaches. (A man in eastern Australia was killed by a shark this week.)