Published on February 26, 2014
Everything you need to know about the Western Australian Shark Culling bill. www.animalsaustralia.org -
Contents • A brief history • What are drumlines? • What does the culling bill entail? • The Premiers behind the policy • Global Response • Environmental Damage • How to help www.australiansforanimals.org.au www.greenleft.org.au
A brief history • In the last few years, Western Australia has had several shark attacks off its coastline. • July 2012: Ben Linden (24) was attacked while surfing 135 km north of Perth. • Aug 2012: A Bond University study was published. The WA was recognised as a hotspot for shark migration. potential shark hazard mitigation measures for WA were published. The report was against the use of drum lines. • Nov 2013: Chris Boyd (35) was attacked by a shark, believed to be a Great White. He was surfing at the popular surf break Umbries. A "catch and kill" order was issued to kill the shark. • Dec 2013: More than 100 shark scientists signed an open letter to the WA Government requesting for non-lethal measures in order to protect humans that would mean investing in more shark research and monitoring.
What are drumlines? • A drum line is an unmanned aquatic trap used to lure and capture large sharks using baited hooks. (Wikipedia) • They are usually placed near beaches known for swimming and other waterborne activities to minimise the shark population in the area and, in turn, incidents of shark attacks. • Drum lines are often used with shark nets (which protect by enclosing the swimming areas) and have been effective in catching the Great White Tiger and Bull shark species. • Image: www.watoday.com.au
What does the Shark Culling policy entail? • It authorises and funds the deployment of drum lines. The drum lines are baited, mid-water hooks that are able to catch and kill Great White, Bull and Tiger sharks. Any sharks found hooked, alive and measuring over 3 m in length must be killed and disposed of in the sea. The rationale behind the policy is to reduce the amount of sharks in the areas where humans are most likely to be after there were 7 fatal shark attacks off the WA coast in the last three years. Australia's Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, allowed the WA Government a temporary exemption from national environment laws protecting Great Whites for the policy to be implemented. • The use of 72 drum limes to bait and hook large sharks in WA (western Australian) waters was implemented in January. sharkhugger.tumblr.com
The Premiers behind the Shark Culling Policy • The policy was developed and led by Premier Colin Barnett and Fisheries Minister, Troy Buswell (since replaced by Ken Baston). Colin Barnett: theconversation.com Ken Baston: www.getfarming.com.au Troy Buswell: www.watoday.com.au
Response • The response has been one of worldwide outrage and protest to sharks being brutally killed as a solution to attacks rather than working on policies to reduce human activity in the areas. The policy also states that any sharks larger than 3m on the WA coast must be hunted and killed by professional fishermen, funded by the WA government. http://www.theguardian.com/
Thousands gathered at events around Australia in Perth, Manly, New South Wales, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Broome. Protests were also held in New Zealand and South Africa.
The environmental damage caused by the policy. • The target of the policy is to kill Great Whites who are already on the IUCN Red List as "vulnerable". • Besides sharks, other marine life are being killed by the drumlines. • Great Whites are apex predators needed to balance the ocean’s food chain and seal population. • “The outcome is inevitable: the great white, now down to an estimated 3,500 individuals, will move from being “vulnerable to extinction” to “endangered with extinction”, to extinct” -Bob Brown, theguardian.com, Friday 7 February 2014 00.50 GMT
Heard from around the world: • “The ocean isn’t a hotel swimming pool, it’s a wild place ... we don’t have an unassailable right to feel safe in the ocean, we can’t just exterminate every animal that we see as being dangerous.” - shark expert Chris Black • “We can't exterminate every creature we believe dangerous. We need to modify our behaviour and take into account dangerous creatures exist and should be allowed to prosper in their own habitat.” - http://www.themercury.com.au/
Celebrities who are against the culling policy include Kelly Slater, Ricky Gervais, Richard Branson and Stephen Fry. sharkdivers.blogspot.com www.veggiefans.net www.theguardian.com
What you can do to help save the sharks: • Sign the petition to end the cull and use the money to fund shark conservation and research: • Educate yourself and your loved ones about the importance of sharks and their place in the ocean. • http://ccwa.org.au/action/n o-shark-cull-wa • Support shark-oriented businesses: • Do not eat shark fin soup or buy shark curios such as teeth or jaws. • Shark cage diving is a great way to learn about sharks and see for yourself how magnificent they are: • http://www.sharkbookings.co m/shark-trips/great-whiteshark-cage-diving/
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