It's amazing to watch how the shark wars are covered by the media here in Western Australia. People are intensely focused on this subject -- not least because they're worried that the next time they go for a swim at one of our beautiful beaches they might get bitten in half by a bloody great white pointer!

They're also forming into two polarized political groups. There are those strongly against what they feel is the brutal murder of these deeply misunderstood creatures. Or, more likely, they're quietly relieved the Government is actually doing something about the problem.

Just as those lurking noahs seem to have developed a taste for human flesh, Perth people are hungry for any juicy chunks of news about this marine menace. Not surprisingly, journos pounce on any news of an actual shark sighting. And they seem to be happening with monotonous regularity anyway.

Then there's the political battle itself. Right now, it's centred on the drum lines that the Barnett government has placed offshore as a kind of barrier against the sharks. Even fifteen years ago this would have been an entirely unremarkable policy that would almost certainly have received bipartisan support. After all, such measures have been in place with little or no controversy in Queensland and NSW for decades. And they seem to have been very effective.

But because the issue has become so polarized and emotive, every aspect of their placement receives intense political criticism, and subsequent media coverage.

A quote from the fisherman charged with executing the shark mitigation strategy illustrates just how crazy the whole debate has become: 

"Everytime a fishing boat sails something has to die, it's just a fact of life and this sort of scene is carried out on fishing boats all over the world everyday so please understand a fishing boat is a floating abattoir, this is what we do, it just has to be that way," he said.

It was ever thus, of course. But the fact that he has to carefully explain this to people in an effort to placate them speaks volumes.

And just on the use of the word abattoir: That reminds me the bait he's placing on those hooks probably came from real slaughterhouses on land and used to comprise the bodies of cows or horses, and other mammals.

So why aren't the greenies arcing up about the murder of these highly developed, sensitive herbivores? They're so fixated on the plight of a bunch of carnivorous bloody fish, they can't see the irony. These people are concerned about shark welfare to a lunatic degree, no doubt about it.