Thursday, December 12, 2013

West Australia To Slaughter Sharks

In an extremely disappointing decision, the government in West Australia has decided that they are going to go ahead with a plan to kill sharks in an effort to make beaches safer for bathers and surfers. In response to the shark attack last month, the W.A. minister, Troy Buswell has called for a new plan to kill sharks. This plan not only involves the government getting involved in killing sharks, but commercial fisherman as well. The plan calls for any shark caught within one kilometer to be killed. This is apparently regardless of species if the animal exceeds 3 meters in length. So yes that means that the W.A. government are okaying the killing of protected species of shark such as the great white.

In addition to fisherman actively going out and hunting the sharks, there will be unattended lines set up to catch sharks. Troy Buswell has even admit that this method can (and probably will) catch unintended animals. Basically a mini long line strategy. Two other parts of this plan to reduce shark populations include dragging whale carcasses that wash up further out to sea and doing a study on the growing seal populations in the area. Some surfers claim that more sharks have been showing up since more seals have. That's probably a true fact as the sharks are there to eat the seals, but due to the decrease in shark numbers, the seal population is growing.

The W.A. government however claims that this new strategy is not a cull of any kind. I fail to see how that is the case. They are systematically going out and eliminating any shark that comes to close to shore. Not only that, but they are passively doing it with those baited hooks that will be strategically placed. Buswell also claims that he is going to speak with the Federal Minister Greg Hunt to allow fisherman in general to keep large sharks like great whites. Federal law currently requires that fisherman release all great whites, but Buswell will apparently push to have that reversed.

Conservation groups have already spoken out about this new plan and at least one of them plans to take direct action against it. The WA government is concerned that conservationists could remove the bait from the hooks. At least one conservation group, who is being kept nameless for now, has already vowed to step up. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society also claims to fight the government's new strategy and will also look into the legalities of killing great white sharks. This cull is supposed to start next month and continue for three months.

This cull is going to cost the lives of a substantial number of sharks. Scientists think that there are fewer great whites in the world than tigers. Last time I checked, no government is calling for a cull on tigers because a person got killed. Last time I checked, more people are being killed every year my hippos, dogs, cows, etc. and I'm not hearing for a cull of any of those animals. West Australia needs to realize that the sharks are not there to kill people. They are not trying to eat people. They are there because of a GROWING food source. If we weren't so busy taking every last fish out of the ocean, the sharks would have a greater food source out at sea. As it stands now though, there is more food inshore than offshore and to thank for that are the same people who the West Australian government are going to hire to kill these sharks. Commercial fisherman. I cannot and will not place the blame of the attack last month on the shark. I cannot and will not blame the sharks for trying to find a food source that can sustain them (the seals). Here we are in a world where 100 million sharks are being killed every year, and now we have a government who has their hearts set on killing more of them. That my friends is what I call disgusting and disturbing. Again, this cull is scheduled to start next month. My hope is that the conservation groups in West Australia are able to prevent this cull from happening or at the very least make the cull less effective through direct action.

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