Just seven days after Chris Boyd was the victim of a fatal shark attack in Western Australia, 19-year-old Zac Young was killed by a shark while surfing near Coffs Harbor, about 300 miles north of Sydney. After the attack on Boyd, which was the fourth fatal shark attack to occur in Western Australia in the past 18 months, calls for shark culling resounded throughout the region. With Young’s death occurring such a short time after Boyd’s (albeit several thousand miles away), talks of a regulated cull are becoming more prominent among those who feel something needs to be done to manage shark numbers in Australian waters.
Among those who voiced support of a cull following Boyd’s death was WA Premier Colin Barnett. “I don’t know if it’s a cull as such – and maybe that means different things to different people – but I certainly acknowledge that the public is demanding that sharks, where they stay around popular swimming or surfing areas, should be destroyed,” he told The Guardian. “I’m in that camp.” This political side-stepping of the ‘cull’ label shouldn’t come as surprise, given the sharp divide in the debate over shark culling.