Shark Mauls Surfer On Remote Australian Beach

Shark Mauls Surfer On Remote Australian Beach

A 34-year-old surfer is in a stable condition after being attacked by a shark in a remote area of Western Australia.

The man was bitten in the abdomen and on the right arm while surfing at Red Bluff on Australia's north west coast on Tuesday afternoon.

The victim, Jon Hines, was helped to safety by a fellow surfer and driven by beachgoers for an hour-and-a-half over dirt tracks to meet an ambulance, which then transferred him to a hospital 140km (85 miles) away in Carnarvon.

He was later flown to the state capital Perth for further treatment.

The attack comes six weeks after surfer Ben Linden, 24, was killed by a five metre (16ft) great white 100 miles (160km) north of Perth in the fifth fatal mauling in Western Australian waters in 10 months.

The spate of attacks has reopened the debate about how best to manage the shark population off the Australian coast.

A report was recently commissioned by the Western Australia state government.

The state's premier, Colin Barnett, said he was considering easing restrictions on both the number of sharks professional fisherman could catch, and on culling large great whites that lurk close to swimming areas.

Mr Barnett said the state government was also looking at providing surf life saving clubs with more equipment to help them protect people in the water, and had increased shark patrols.

"The bottom line is, there clearly are more sharks," he said.

Mr Barnett echoed experts in noting that most shark attacks targeted divers and surfers in remote locations, not at patrolled metropolitan beaches.

"I have said, given the numbers of attacks and another one yesterday, that we will look at everything that is used to minimise the risk of shark attack including shark nets," he said.

Shark nets are strung up on popular beaches to provide a safe swimming area but have been controversial.

"A shark net is in fact a shark trap," Mr Barnett said. "And people have very mixed views about shark nets when they see it in that context, but there are other things that are being looked at."