Fishermen free shark in dramatic rescue effort on Western Australia beach

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As Western Australia considers culling large sharks as a means of potentially reducing the number of attacks on swimmers and surfers, dramatic footage has surfaced showing WA fishermen releasing a 10- to 12-foot tiger shark that had been hauled onto the beach.

The rescue was drawn out and may be disturbing to watch as the shark lies on the sand, helpless, while one of its rescuers covers its head with a red towel and another tries painstakingly with pliers to remove the hook. At one point, a fisherman sits on the shark’s back, bending its dorsal fin (see video).

Even the effort to shove the giant predator back into surf, as it’s toppled by the incoming surge, seems like it might be a lost cause. But ultimately the tiger shark rights itself and swims beyond the surf, amid cheers.

The shark was said to have been accidentally caught by the fishermen in Coral Bay, a small town popular among fishermen and tourists.

Meanwhile, surfers and businessmen are pressuring the government to set drum lines in an attempt to catch and kill large sharks—primarily great whites—that swim close to popular surfing beaches. This is in the wake of a fatal attack last month on 35-year-old surfer Chris Boyd at a surf spot called Umbies, south of Perth. He became the third surfer killed in the Margaret River area in the past decade.

There also have been attacks elsewhere in Australia.

Many experts oppose shark culls, however, referring to them as mere appeasement tactics that do not necessarily reduce the likelihood of attacks on surfers and swimmers.

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