White shark conservancy group hits back on politician’s plan to kill sharks near shoreline

BARNSTABLE (WHDH) - A local conservancy group is responding after a local politician reportedly proposed a plan to kill sharks who get too close to local shorelines where swimmers may be in danger.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy posted a response on their Facebook page Wednesday, saying that the plan put forth by Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty would be ineffective.

Beaty had said he was considering a “shark hazard mitigation strategy” that would capture and kill sharks that swam too close to the shoreline. The response comes after a person on a paddleboard had a close encounter with a shark Wednesday in Wellfleet.

“The presence of white sharks off our coast is an indication of a healthy eco-system,” the conservancy said in a statement. “The inshore waters off many Cape Cod and South Shore beaches are preferred feeding grounds for white sharks. They come to these areas to feed on a natural prey item — seals.”

The group says that advisory signs, flags, and other materials help beachgoers understand the risks and improve public safety. The group also cited a program in Australia that killed white sharks, “without success” according to the conservancy.

According to officials, the program in Australia was eliminated after review by environmental officials, who said there was no evidence beaches were made safer by killing sharks who swam too close.

“The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy believes the proposal made by Commissioner Beaty is ill-considered, indiscriminate, and will not influence beach safety,” the group said in the statement.

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