A great white shark has been caught in nets off Sydney’s Bondi Beach.
The carcass of the 2.5 metre male great white was pulled dead from the world famous beach’s shark nets on Wednesday morning, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industry.
“The shark was found during routine inspections by specialist contractors who carry out operations as part of the NSW shark meshing program,” a spokeswoman for the department said.
The shark, also known as a white pointer, was taken to a facility for autopsy and research purposes.
According to the spokeswoman, the shark nets at Bondi do not stretch the full length of the popular beach. Rather, they are designed to deter sharks from establishing territories, which reduces the risk of an attack on humans.
Shark nets have been in place at Bondi Beach since 1937 and help protect more than 2 million bathers each year. Similar programmes operate at many of Australia’s most popular beaches. As reported earlier this year, Australia has the highest incidence of reported fatal shark attacks in the world.
The Department of Primary Industry said the Bondi shark nets were checked at least every 72 hours. If any marine creatures are found alive, they must be freed where it is safe and practical to do so, according to the department.
The Mayor of Waverley Council – which includes the Bondi area – Sally Betts, said there was no cause for alarm.
“I’m surprised it’s a great white and it’s quite large, but we do have sharks that periodically swim past all our beaches, very few of them come in,” she said, the ABC reported.
“We don’t know why this one came in, it could have been a school of fish and the shark followed them.
“As soon as they go past the nets they get this sonar sensitivity and they normally panic a bit and turn around.”
The great white shark is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by The International Union for Conservation of Nature. The species is at “a high risk of extinction in the wild”, according to the union.
Great white sharks have been the subject of recent controversy on the other side of the country, in Western Australia. Following a spate of shark attacks there, many of which were blamed on the great white, a culling programme was initiated by the state’s government.
A total of 172 sharks were caught this year with 68 being shot, in the programme.
The shark cull reportedly will not continue into next year, following high profile protests and advice from the Environment Protection Agency that the programme could too adversely affect the great white population.
IMAGE: Library photo of a great white shark (Shutterstock.com)