WATEGOS SHARK SPOTTING: Great White Shark RamonCarretero

Calls for shark cull 'self defeating'

CALLS for a cull of great white sharks sooner rather than later have been described as a "self-defeating" tactic by one expert.

The calls come as the CSIRO conducts a national assessment of great white numbers due by the end of the year.

But a surf club representative and a Ballina councillor have both canvassed the option for a cull.

"The cold, hard reality is that their numbers are increasing - there's no way anyone can dispute that," Lennox-Ballina Boardriders Club president Don Munro told The Daily Telegraph.

"Due to the increasing numbers a cull should be a foregone conclusion."

Ballina councillor Phil Meehan added: "Targeted fishing may well be the answer to bring shark numbers back to a safe level."

The Liberal Party's federal council passed a motion two weeks ago supporting removal of protections for great whites if the CSIRO found they were no longer threatened.

But SCU Marine Biologist Dr Daniel Bucher said he would be "very surprised" if the CSIRO report showed a dramatic increase after available science showed populations were in decline.

"Taking them off the list would only see them put back on soon down the track...if they are recovering, there population is not unnaturally high," Dr Bucher said.

He said mobile tagging had revealed sharks travel far and wide and "the east coast is one big mobile population" so to start culling "would be a self-defeating tactic".

The most recent CSIRO data from August of 2015 found that the adult population of white sharks on the east coast of Australia could've been between 750-1200 individuals.

NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesman Justin Field said the killing of white sharks would not make beaches safer and called on NSW Minister Niall Blair to rule out the culling of white sharks in NSW.

"The facts and science show the risk of a shark bite is extremely rare and healthy shark populations are essential for a healthy ocean," Mr Field said.

"Shark management has developed and evolved with a suite of effective non-lethal measures including SMART drumlines, community monitoring programs and personal deterrent devices."

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