White sharks in Western Australia: threat or opportunity?
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This paper explores the Western Australian Government's decision to disallow white shark tourism operations within the State. This policy was made during a time of an unprecedented number of shark bite fatalities in the region. We argue that the Government's verdict was reactive due to this abnormality and did not take a balanced and considered approach. White sharks are an important key stone species with a high conservation value, but a particularly negative popular image. Therefore, we contend that dismissing the prospect of tourism also dismissed the prospect of creating a more realistic representation of the species. In addition, economic benefits to a regional area and research opportunities on the species were also lost.
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