Tragedy in Western Australia!

Western Australians protesting the shark cull

Western Australians protesting the shark cull

Western Australia’s policy of catching and killing  large sharks, rather than minimizing the risk of shark attack, actually increases that risk.

In a highly controversial and unscientific response to three fatal shark attacks, the Western Australian government is deploying 72 baited drum lines 1 kilometer [1,093 yards] off beaches in Perth and along the southwest coast. The plan is that, when hooked, most of the sharks will soon die of suffocation. Any sharks 3 metres [10 feet] or more in length which are still alive will be shot.

In effect, the government is chumming for sharks, luring them close to shore, to swimmers, and surfers. And that reduces the very remote risk of shark attack - how?!!!

Colin Barnett, the Western Australian premier, has chosen to ignore the more than 4,000 demonstrators in Perth opposing the cull; the slew of petitions against the cull that were gathered on the web, the hundreds of letters and emails protesting the cull from people around the world, plus the letters and phone calls from scientists, including those of the Global Shark Attack File – physicians and shark behaviorists who study shark behavior to determine the motivation and environmental risk factors in shark attacks. According to Mr. Barnett.his kill order is "on the advice of experts and several universities” but fails to name his alleged experts -- a curious omission since more than 100 shark experts, including scientists from The Australian National University, James Cook University, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland, University of Newcastle and Australia’s Marine and Coastal Science Group, sent an open letter to Mr . Barnett, protesting the kill.

The primary targets in the  cull are white sharks, a species whose population has declined worldwide to such a degree that it is protected by two United Nations  treaties: the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and many countries, including Australia, have enacted legislation to protect white sharks. By targeting the larger sharks -- the sexually mature adults who are vital to rebuilding the world’s population of white sharks -- the cull is a tragedy for the ocean, the sharks, and the beach-goers of Western Australia.