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Australia may end protective status of great white sharks, allow hunting

Following several great white shark attacks, the Australian government mulls over the shark's protected status.
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A Great White shark jumps out of the water as it hunts Cape fur seals near False Bay, on July 4, 2010. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

Great white sharks have been under a protective status for nearly 20 years in Australia, but that may come to an end following recent attacks. 

The Guardian noted that the latest shark attack victim was Ben Linden, a 24-year-old musician from Perth/ Linden who was killed in a shark attack while surfing near Wedge Island. A jetski rider who attempted to retrieve Linden's body was knocked off his vehicle by the shark. Linden was the fifth shark attack victim in 10 months. 

Norman Moore, Western Australia's Fisheries Minister, told Australia's News.com, "Five fatalities in Western Australia is unprecedented and cause for great alarm." He added that he would be willing to lift the protection order on great whites if the federal government were to do the same, thus making way for people to hunt great whites. 

Dr Bob Heuter, director of the Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research in Sarasota, Florida, told the BBC that he would caution against jumping to conclusions.

"When you have multiple attacks, it can be one of two things or a combination of both. The most obvious is that there are more sharks there in a place where people frequent for some reason." He added that, "Because you get two events that seem to be close together in time and space, doesn't mean you've got a trend."

Moore told CBS that he is also concerned about how this will effect Australia's tourism industry saying, "those people who want to come here to enjoy an ocean experience will be turned away because of this situation."

More from GlobalPost: Great white sharks spotted in California and Massachusetts

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/australia-may-end-protective-status-great-white-sharks

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