• Thousands of protesters have gathered in Perth to condemn the WA government's shark killing policy. (AAP)
Thousands of people have flocked to Perth's iconic Cottesloe beach to protest against the baiting and killing of sharks along the south coast of West Australia.
By
Craig Quartermaine

Source:
NITV News
3 Feb 2014 - 5:26 PM  UPDATED 13 Feb 2014 - 4:07 PM

Noongar elder Ben Taylor said sharks hold a special place in Indigenous culture.

"They're part of our totem and our culture, they used to swim with them thousands of years ago and they are part of our culture spiritually and religionm" he said.

The WA Government's policy to bait-and-kill sharks has attracted attention around the world, including that of entrepreneur Richard Branson.

"The Barnett Government's decision to use the WA Fisheries Department has also drawn criticism to an already unpopular policy where contracts were originally tendered to commercial fishermen," said rally organiser Natalie Banks.

The sharks were very close to us like all animals in the land and in the ocean. Thats their territory thats their sacred dreaming track, you cant interfere with them places."

Drum lines have been laid and five sharks have been caught at this point. A sixth was spotted this morning 100m off North Leighton beach near Fremantle but the Fisheries Department failed to capture the 4-metre shark.

The WA Government has defended it's catch and kill policy by saying it is the best way to protect human life after 7 shark attacks in recent years.

Members of the Noongar community have actively attended and thrown their support behind the protests, saying its inappropriate to kill these sharks on cultural grounds.