A shark cull in waters off of Western Australia, and authorized by local authorities, is now taking place in an attempt to make beaches safer there. George Burgess, director of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the Florida Museum of Natural History, told Discovery News that officials probably are hoping to target great white sharks, known as "white pointers" in Australia.
While a person's chances of being bitten by another human, or dying in a car accident on the way to the beach, are far higher than an actual shark attack, experts have mulled over ways of preventing attacks without killing sharks.
Last month, researchers began testing some unlikely repellants -- including bubbles and underwater sounds and lights -- to see if they might be effective. "Sharks generally don't like anything that is unnatural and different, something that they're not familiar with," says Ryan Kempster, a shark biologist at the University of Western Australia.
Closing beaches to recreational water users from sunset to sunrise might be a more sure-fire way to prevent attacks. "This is when sharks are most active and have a competitive sensory advantage," Burgess explained.