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Shark Attack In Australia Kills U.S. Man, Authorities Given Permission To Kill Predator

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A shark who has killed a U.S. tourist off Perth, Western Australia on Saturday is being hunted by authorities.

The 32-year-old tourist is believed to have been diving off the popular Rottnest Island, 12.5 miles northwest of Perth, at Little Armstrong Bay, PerthNow reported.

The shark, described by the divers friends as a 9.8-foot great white, struck around 1.30pm (AWST).

Police said two of his friends watched in horror from a private 25-foot Bertram boat as they saw a "flurry of bubbles" in the water. Their friend's body surfaced shortly after with traumatic injuries.

The man had been living and working in Australia for six months, according to The West Australian.

The West Australian reports the Department of Fisheries has given permission to kill the shark and it is understood officers are laying bait.

"The decision has been made that if we capture the shark we will kill it," Department of Fisheries regional manager Tony Cappelluti said. "The intention is for us to set some gear at the site of the attack and see if we can capture the shark. The policy is that if there's a clear and present danger that we can take a great white," Fox News reported.

"The exemption to destroy sharks only applies in WA state waters in an area up to three nautical miles offshore and must be conducted under strict guidelines using a firearm," according to PerthNow.

The death is the fourth fatal shark attack in the area in 14 months.

Following reports that shark numbers had increased in WA, Premier Colin Barnett said his government would look into raising the number of sharks fishermen were allowed to catch, according to ABC Australia.

"Sharks are natural predators, this is their domain. People are generally aware of the risk," he said.

ABC Australia reported Barnett said he would look into "increasing shark patrols over popular WA beaches." However, the latest shark attack occurred offshore where no patrols would operate.

According to The West Australian Barnett said that August to November was "a risk period" and on days like Saturday, "grey, dull days," were the times when recent shark attacks seem to have occurred. He said the risk was greater for people out in deep waters diving and spear fishing.

64-year-old Perth resident Bryn Martin is believed to have been taken by a shark at one of Perth's most popular beaches on October 10, when he went swimming and never returned.

PETA recently launched a new ad targeting a fisherman who was attacked by a shark, and said, "Sharks are not the most dangerous predators on Earth, we are."

An annual report by the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File found that an average of five people per year are killed by sharks, while fishing fleets kill up to 70 million sharks per year.

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