A Cape Cod politician is pushing a plan to kill great white sharks that swim too close to area beaches.
Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty told the Boston Herald he'd like to employ tactics similar to those used in South Africa and Australia where baited drum lines with hooks are placed near popular beaches. The sharks that are caught would then be shot and dumped out at sea. He said part of what led him to propose such extreme measures was Monday's shark attack on a seal just off Nauset Beach.
The attack, which took place a short distance from two surfers, caused the Orleans beach to close temporarily.
"It's very easy for these sharks to mistake a person for a seal," Beaty told the Herald. "They're just looking for something to eat. God forbid it's somebody's child, and by that time, it's too late. We can't wait for that."
Experts with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy called the proposal "ill-considered," and pointed out the Australian trial Beaty referred to was terminated after there was no evidence that culling made the beaches safer.
"The presence of white sharks off our coast is an indication of a healthy eco-system," the conservancy said in a statement.
So far this summer, there have been well over 50 shark sightings reported off the Cape. Several have been close enough to shore to prompt beach closures.
In recent years, great white sharks haven't been spotted off the Cape until the second week of June. But the last two years have seen more than the usual number of great whites off the Cape.