Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has expressed concern that international publicity given to shark attacks could adversely effect tourism to the state.
“There is no doubt there is world exposure to the shark fatalities that have occurred,” Barnett told ABC News. “That will no doubt be happening right now.”
Barnett was speaking after university nursing lecturer Doreen Collyer was attacked and killed by a suspected five-metre (16ft), great white shark while diving off Perth. It was the second fatal shark attack in Western Australian waters within a week, after surfer Ben Gerring was mauled by a great white off Mandurah and died in hospital on Friday night.
Baited drum lines have been dropped in the ocean in the hunt for the shark that killed Collyer.
Barnett stressed that swimmers were safe if they swam on patrolled beaches “but it’s impossible to be able to protect surfers at all surf breaks or divers out on reefs”.
Crocodile attacks have also generated adverse international publicity for Australia in recent weeks, though the croc attacks were on the other side of the Australian continent, in the Northern Territory.
There, human remains have been found inside a giant crocodile by investigators searching for a missing woman seized by one of the reptiles during a late night swim in shallow water.
Cindy Waldron, 46, was dragged under the water at Thornton Beach. A large 4.3-metre (14ft) crocodile was caught in the vicinity later, killed “humanely” and then opened up. Thereptile was found to contain human remains.
The presumed fatality follows a spate of crocodile attacks in Australia’s tropical Far North this year, including an incident where a croc tried to drag a camper out of his tent by the foot.
Written by Peter Needham