This white shark, photographed at the Farallon Islands off Northern California, has been tagged with an acoustic tag (front) and a pop-up satellite tag (rear) as part of the TOPP research program (Image courtesy of TOPP

Sydney - The government program to cull sharks off Western Australia has been heavily influenced by the scary Hollywood film Jaws instead of science, a shark researcher said on Tuesday.

Dr Christopher Neff of the University of Sydney examined the policy behind culling sharks and found “striking similarities” with the 1975 blockbuster movie, the ABC reported.

In Jaws a policeman sets out to kill a “rogue” giant shark that stays in one area to hunt down and kill its victims. When announcing the cull Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said “rogue” sharks staying in one area were a threat to beachgoers and had to be removed.

Neff said this was a myth of shark behaviour and the Western Australian government had used the film's fictional plot to form its shark policy.

Neff published his findings title The Jaws Effect in the Australian Journal of Political Science.

“This policy is using myths as the basis for killing sharks that are protected by law and which provides no real beach safety,” Neff told the broadcaster ABC on Tuesday. - Sapa-dpa