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updated: 9/27/2012 6:11 PM

Shark attacks spark kill orders in Australia

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Bloomberg News

The government of Western Australia said it plans to track, catch and if necessary kill sharks threatening beachgoers after a record five fatal attacks in the state in the past year.

Officials will be allowed to destroy sharks "posing an imminent threat," Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said in an e- mailed statement today as he announced a A$6.85 million ($7.1 million) protection, research and education program. Previously the state only issued kill orders following a shark attack.

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Tourism operators in Western Australia are attempting to lure domestic and international visitors to the state's 7,500-mile coastline, which is studded with pristine beaches. The most recent attack saw a 24-year-old surfer taken by a five-meter Great White Shark on July 14 off an isolated beach about 160 kilometers north of the state capital Perth. His remains weren't recovered.

"These new measures will not only help us to understand the behavior of sharks but also offer beachgoers greater protection and confidence as we head into summer," state Premier Colin Barnett said in the statement.

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