Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sea Shepherd vs West Australia Shark Cull Set to Begin

Greetings again everyone. Well this was inevitable. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has made good on their claim that they would seek a legal challenge to the West Australia shark cull. Now that claim is a reality as the conservation group has legally moved against the cull, challenging it's legality in the West Australian Supreme Court. Fighting alongside Sea Shepherd is Sharon Burden, mother of Kyle Burden whom was killed by a shark in 2011. She aims to use the story of her son to hopefully bring light to larger issues that need to be looked at before killing these animals.

Sea Shepherd is claiming that the West Australian Government's exemption of the law that it granted to itself which allows the killing of tiger, white, and bull sharks was illegal. As a result, Sea Shepherd is claiming that the entire cull is an illegal operation and those behind it and working with it should be punished just as anyone else breaking the law would be. As he has done from the beginning of this cull, Primer Mr. Colin (Cullin) Barnett continues to state that this cull is the right thing to do and that it is completely legal. Time will tell as to whether or not the cull is legal, but as far as it being the right thing to do? Well that is heavily debated by conservationists, the general public, and even those surfers who venture into the shark's home on a daily basis. In fact Barnett stated that he would like to see the cull continue through next summer!

I've said it before and I will say it again and again until the killing stops. This cull is beyond ridiculous. There is zero reason for it to be happening and everything that the West Australian Government has said the cull would do has been a lie. They said no undersized sharks would be killed. At this point there is a mortality rate of at least 80% in caught undersized sharks. Many of these sharks are killed before they are even "released". The government claimed that no small sharks would be able to be hooked. I think the above fact proves that wrong. The government also claimed that only sharks larger than 3 meters would be caught. That's also been proven wrong as one animal, believed to be a dolphin, has been killed by these lines already. The government also claimed that the fisherman have been using tarps to cover the sharks while they are on a boat. So far, the only tarp that has been seen is the one that covered the mystery animal, probably the dolphin. Most importantly they claim that the lines make beaches safe. If that was the fact, then why are they removed before any form of swimming event. They are not making beaches safer. If they were their would be no reason to remove them.

I am by no means a law expert so I cannot even take a guess as to how the courts will rule on this cull. Regardless of that, one thing is clear. The government is not acting for the people. They are acting on their own will because they fear a loss of tourists due to shark attacks. In reality that probably will not have happened, but with the sheer amount of people disgusted about this cull, it wouldn't shock me if they now saw a decrease. Odds are they would blame it on the sharks anyway. The political scene has zero and I mean zero clue as to what is truly going on during this cull or even why it is happening. They are out to catch that all powerful Jaws, which is not going to happen. Sure they may eventually catch a great white, which still they have caught none of, but it's not going to be this monster they are looking for. If they do catch one, they'll make a huge deal about it, but make no mention of the significantly large number of young tiger sharks they killed for literally no reason as they are undersized. They won't make mention of the dolphin that they, in all likely hood, killed. All they'll talk about is how important this cull is and claim that that one white shark being killed made beaches safer.

All it is doing in reality is further crashing species who are already in serious trouble. Tiger sharks are being killed in West Australia more than any other shark in this cull. How can a species expect to survive in an area where nearly any of them caught are killed? The answer is simple, they cant. Think about it. Humans kill roughly 100,000,000 sharks every year. That's before putting in any numbers of this cull, which could become quite large by the time all is said and done if it is allowed to continue. Tiger, bull, and great whites are all threatened with extinction. All of these species have been fished to the brink and West Australia is setting an absolutely horrifying example for the rest of the world. If this was back when the movie Jaws first came out and we knew literally nothing about sharks, then sure, it would be a bit more understandable for a government to act this way as Jaws did spawn massive fear. It is 2014 though and that is simply not the case. We know these animals are not out to eat us. We know that large sharks eat large fish and marine mammals. We know a lot more about them now than we ever have before and yet here we are, out of fear of losing money, doing this.
Photo: And this is the first shark released this morning off Floreat. Injured and bleeding. Further attractant to bring more sharks. Credit for photo to Neil Henderson 
In West Australia, this is 100% okay to do with the government. Yet if you go north to England, a man has just been fined 10,000pounds for doing this to a baby great white.

This is what countries should be doing. They should be trying to deter people from killing these animals and not feeding the fear that the media has instilled in them. The people of West Australia who think this cull is needed are being played like a game by their government.

Government of West Australia, follow England's example. End this cull. Stop driving these animals closer to extinction and come to terms with the fact that no matter how many sharks you kill, there will still be a chance of someone being bit. Or if you want to eliminate all of the sharks (which I don't think Mr. Barnett would mind doing) then be prepared to eliminate everything else in the ocean cause the next thing will be people getting bit by large fish or stung by stingrays. The food chain is a very delicate thing and it is one that you are playing a very dangerous game with. I promise you that if you manage to destroy the balance that exists off your shores, you will all be in for a very rude awakening and not from myself or any other conservationist, but from the destruction of your local oceanic ecosystem.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another Slaughter Has Ended

Greetings everyone. Today marks the end of the Taiji dolphin hunt in Taiji, Japan. Today, Japanese fisherman went about cleaning the butcher house and removing the tarps that they use to hide their horrific practices. The number of dolphins killed or sold into captivity I do not know at this time, but it is easy to say that several hundred dolphins had their lives changed forever, regardless as to how short their lives may had been within the cove. If I find the number of dolphins killed, I'll be sure to include it in a future blog. This blog though, I want to focus more on the future.

First of all I want to give a massive, and I mean massive thank you to Sea Shepherd's Cove Guardians whom were standing guard at the cove for the duration of the hunt. Everyday these brave men and women endured being mocked, harassed, and verbally abused for documenting what the world needs to see. They are a huge part in this fight to see these slaughters put to an end. They've livestreamed killings from start to finish. They've helped to bring the focus back to Taiji where it needs to be. Every year more and more pressure is mounting on Taiji to end the killings and hopefully with Taiji returning to the news this year, Japan will reconsider the killings next season. I doubt it, but we have to have some hope right?

Regardless as to how many dolphins Japan kills in an effort to conserve fish populations, Japan will continue to see it's fish populations deplete. It is not the dolphins that are eliminating too many fish. It is the commercial fisherman whom are going out and literally removing any and all fish from the seas. It is time for Japan to realize this and also realize just how important those dolphins that they are killing are to the local environment. Time continues to tick for these animals and we are the only ones who can make it so that they are able to survive into the distant future. Sea World and other large parks and aquariums need to step up their game and get involved.  If Sea World were to step up and tell the world that the Taiji dolphin hunt is wrong and needs to end, then I would not be at all surprised to see other facilities follow suit. The same thing can be said for IMATA and WAZA. Stating that they do not support drive hunts is not enough. That just sounds like a company statement that the cast majority of people will overlook. If people from those groups actually came out against it verbally, I think it would be a drastically different story.

Now that the Taiji dolphin slaughter has come to a close I guess I should let you guys know what I am planning for the end of Operation Kibou. From this point forward, do not expect to see much in the way of dolphin blogs. Now that the killings in Taiji have ended my focus is going to shift even more towards the West Australia shark cull. Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless is still going on in the Southern Ocean and I will continue to try and keep you all up to date on that as well. I will hopefully be able to squeeze a couple more whale blogs in by the end, but again, my primary focus is going to be on the shark cull. So when is the end of Operation Kibou? This operation will conclude on March 19th, 2014 and my next campaign, which is currently unnamed, will begin immediately on March 20th. All I can tell you about the operation right now is that it's focus will be on sharks, manta rays, and for a second spring/summer campaign, bluefin tuna! Stay tuned as March 19th gets closer for news on that operation, but for now my focus returns to West Australia.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cull Controversy Grows. Possibility of First Marine Mammal Killed Very Real

Greetings again to all. Welcome to part 2 of a 2 blog night. In case you missed it, my previous blog was about Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless which is ongoing in the Southern Ocean. This blog is going to continue Operation Kibou as more controversy has come out from West Australia.

As I've been talking about in most of my recent blogs, West Australia continues to wage it's war on sharks. Sharks both large and small are being slaughtered for quite literally no reason. The West Australian Government claims they are making beaches safer. I heavily dispute this claim as attracting sharks to inshore areas doesn't really sound like making beaches safer as opposed to just outright trying to cover themselves for making such an outrageous deal about sharks in the area. The cull was started to reduce the population of tiger, bull, and especially great whites off the coast of West Australia. So far zero great whites have been caught. I've been showing images from the cull and just how inhumane it has been thus far to sharks both large and small.

Photo: Another harrowing picture has emerged of a shark caught on WA’s drum lines — this one a 1.8m tiger shark with a hook through its head.

Although the animal is well below the 3m size limit for destroying a shark, it stands no chance of surviving because the hook has penetrated its skull and been forced out the other side: 

Picture: Animal Amnesty and Sea Shepherd

Here is a rather gruesome image that has come out of what happens to small sharks that bite the hooks. If you look back in the news before this whole thing began, the West Australian Government said that the hooks would be too large for a small shark to bite. This shark is not even 2m in length and here it is with a hook clear through it's head. Just further proof that the politicians remain clueless as to how things actually go in the seas. Just because you say one thing, doesn't mean it's what's going to be the case. Same thing goes for a very controversial image that came out and has been seen pretty much everywhere.

Take a wild guess where this is..... The first thought that came to my mind was Taiji, Japan where the dolphin slaughter is hidden away from the world by tarps. Well... The Japanese try to hide it from the world, but do not do a very good job at it.... Anyway. This is an image that came out just two days ago and before I go any further, it does look quite similar to Taiji.

Taiji is depicted on the right while the image from W.A. is on the left. Anyway at the beginning on this cull, myself and a lot of other conservationists were deeply concerned about the possibility of these hooks catching things that they should not be catching such as undersized sharks, turtles, birds, and dolphins. Well the W.A. government told us all that none of those things would be caught and that only sharks larger than 3m would be able to bit the hook. So far the government has lied about that as there have been many sharks smaller than 3m caught. Now the question is are they lying about the hooks not being able to catch things such as dolphins. There is huge speculation that the animal under the tarp is in fact a small dolphin. I do not know it for a fact obviously, but if it was a shark, why cover it when they hadn't been doing so prior. Why would there be an account of someone saying they thought they saw a dolphin being dragged onto a boat? Why would a fishing vessel claim to have seen a dolphin carcass where the shark bodies are dumped. Too many coincidences for me. The government claims that is was not a dolphin, but with no photo evidence, we can never fully prove that it was or was not.

If this was in fact a dolphin, which I do believe it was, then this is just further proof as to how flawed this entire cull is. Everything that it was supposed to be and do has been wrong from the get go. No vicious great whites have been caught. More undersized sharks have been caught and killed when they weren't even supposed to be able to bite the hooks. Now it seems that the fact that other animals would be safe from the hooks has also potentially been thrown by the wayside. At this point I am truly at a loss for words with this cull. Everyday more and more horror stories are surfacing and more and more people are calling for an end. Yet it just keeps going on. Tiger sharks were listed on this cull list for what purpose? Tiger sharks have not killed anyone in Australia in over 100 years. Bull sharks have been extremely scarce and white sharks non existent. So what is the excuse for this cull to continue? To further deplete a species that has proven to be able to coexist with humans in the waters off of W.A. over the past 100 years? To drive a species already threatened with extinction closer to the point of no return? What is the purpose?

When this cull comes to an end and sharks remain off of W.A. what will the government do then? Will they finally admit that their plan was flawed and that the whole cull was a bust? I doubt it. If anything they will probably call for another cull stating that the errors of the original will not be repeated and blame those errors for the shark population remaining. One thing to me is clear and that is that this is just a disgusting situation. For a country that is engaged in courts with Japan over it's whaling program to be doing something even more damaging to the environment and the natural world is extremely disappointing to see. I used to think Australia helped to set an example for ocean conservation, but now I just can't bring myself to think that way. The cruelty being shown by these fisherman I say is right on the same level as the cruelty shown to the whales of the Southern Ocean or the dolphins of Taiji. Sea Shepherd Australia has been doing their own work at documenting the cull and here is what they see. The shame of West Australia's shark cull for what it truly is.

An undersized tiger shark about to be speared in the head

A tiger shark moments before being shot by fisherman and then dumped at sea.

Fisherman removing a hook from a dead shark. The body dumped at sea.

Tiger shark being dragged out to sea where it will be dumped and left to rot. Not even the Japanese whalers are this disrespectful to what they kill.

An undersized tiger shark about to be cut from a hook...

By having it's head and jaw sliced. This animal probably did not live long after this.

Before I close out this blog for the night I would like to say welcome to a new audience. For one reason or another there has been a sharp increase of people viewing this blog from Australia. So to those Australians who may be reading this, greeting from a the other side of the world and welcome to A Voice for the Voiceless! I hope you will find these topics interesting and that you will continue to return as big things are happening in Australia right now and I do not mean good big things if you couldn't tell by the content of this blog. We are in this together so let's all work at seeing the cull end!

Will the Third Time be the Charm? Sea Shepherd Again Locates Illegal Whaling Operation

Good evening everyone. Tonight will be another night that  will be doing two blogs. With everything that has going on with the respective slaughters in Taiji and West Australia, I have not been covering the situation of Japan killing whales in the Southern Ocean as much as I originally anticipated I would be. To catch you all up on what is going on I'll summarize what has gone on thus far during Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Relentless. Thus far the Sea Shepherd fleet has located and pursued the Japanese whaling fleet on two separate occasions. Both times the conservation vessels escorted the whaling ships out of the whaling grounds only to lose them before being able to obtain their ultimate goal of shutting down the whaling operations for the season.

The second time that Sea Shepherd located the whaling fleet they had them on the run for a solid of January, which could prove to be a disaster for the whaling fleet. That we will not know until they release their catch totals at the end of the season. In early February, the whaling fleet was able to break free of the Sea Shepherd vessels by using their harpoon vessels to cross the bows of the conservation ships on at least 8- separate occasions. One of these occasions led to a collision between the Yushin Maru No.3 and the Bob Barker. Now unless things have changed, which I do not believe they have, it is the responsibility of a vessel which is overtaking another vessel to maintain a safe distance between itself and the vessel it is overtaking. In this instance the whaling fleet broke that law. At the same time though, Japan claims that Sea Shepherd was doing the same thing with their inflatable boats, which I believe they did do as they pretty much do it all the time. The difference is there is no way that a little inflatable vessel would ever be able to sink a harpoon ship by running into it. Two large ships colliding is an entirely different story. Anyway... Since this conflict the whaling fleet sacrificed it's security ship and one of it's harpoon vessels to track the Sea Shepherd ships allowing them to whale at will.

Another situation would soon rise as in order to shake the tail of the Japanese security ship, the Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, would head into New Zealand waters where the whaling fleet is not permitted to enter. When questioned about the incident, the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) responded by saying the Shonan Maru #2 and all other whaling vessels move only with approval from the Japanese Government. So basically this means that the Japanese Government told the Shonan Maru #2 to follow the conservation ship into waters it was forbidden from entering. The security ship would spend over a day in New Zealand waters with armed Japanese police and coast guard units on board. Around that same time a similar situation unfolded in Australian waters as the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, had entered Australian waters in an attempt to lose the tail of the harpoon ship Yushin Maru #3, the same ship that collided with it days earlier. The harpoon ship was not as stubborn about leaving waters it was un-welcomed in as it stopped just one mile outside of Australian waters.

Now the stage is set for a third conflict between the Japanese whaling fleet and the Sea Shepherd fleet. Earlier today the helicopter of the Steve Irwin discovered the Nisshin Maru as well as the three harpoon vessels of the whaling fleet. The three Sea Shepherd ships are now in pursuit of the whaling fleet once again as the whaling fleet's security vessel, Shonan Maru #2, is also nearby. At last report, the three harpoon ships have taken positions behind the the Nisshin Maru and are attempting to escape the approaching conservationists. Sea Shepherd has once again disrupted the whaling operations and with each day that passes between now and the end of the whaling season that the whaling fleet cannot whale is a big hole in their pockets. Sea Shepherd seeks to destroy the whaling industry financially and they are achieving that goal each and every time the harpoons are put away.

Some eyes now shift back to the Southern Ocean, including mine. I will continue to try and keep you all updated on what is going on with Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless, but I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to catch everything as my primary focus right now is on the West Australia Shark Cull. With that being said. Visit for news on Operation Relentless and again, I will try my best to keep things up to date here as well!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Released Sharks are Not Safe in West Australia

Greetings again everyone. More grim news coming from West Australia to go along with more sad pictures as well. For the second time a undersized tiger shark has been seen sinking to the bottom of the sea. Words cannot describe how heartbreaking it is to see that this cull has continued despite it really not achieving anything at all except potentially making the beaches less safe for swimmers. So here is the situation. Sharks that are less than 3m in length are supposed to be released so that they may continue their lives and grow up to be healthy sharks. Well that is simply not happening with an unacceptable number of small sharks that are being released in this cull. In one of my past few blogs, I touched on the methods fishermen were using to remove hooks from the mouths, heads, and gills of sharks. Well, images surfaced earlier today of more horrible and completely unwarranted abuse towards these small sharks. All photos I'm using in this blog were taken by members of West Australians for Shark Conservation's Facebook Page.

Photo: And this is the first shark released this morning off Floreat. Injured and bleeding. Further attractant to bring more sharks. Credit for photo to Neil Henderson

Take note of neck of the shark. It has been cut deeply. There is absolutely zero reason in the world that these fisherman had to slit this undersized shark's throat. The hook was not across the animal's throat. All this was was a demonstration of humans being incredibly cruel to a young animal that had done nothing wrong other then bite a baited hook. Out of 50 known released sharks, 40 have been found dead. This is not a good ratio. In fact it is unacceptable. The public was told that sharks under 3m would be released and not be killed. Clearly what these fisherman are doing is nothing more than taking pleasure in abusing an animal that is beyond misunderstood.

So does anyone reading this honestly believe that a shark can survive having it's throat slit? Anyone? Honestly? No? Okay that's good to hear at least. Simply put, much like humans or any other animal, sharks cannot survive having their throats slit. Moving on. Fishermen claim that 80% of the sharks released have survived. What I have seen and read tells me otherwise. I'm leaning towards perhaps an 80% mortality rate as more and more images of abused, undersized sharks continue to surface. So what happened to this shark? Well reportedly it has shared the fate of this shark.

Blair Ranford's photo.
This is another one of the released tiger sharks. Unable to swim, it sank to the bottom of the sea and died.

This is simply unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue. This is what happens when politicians who have no idea what is going on in the oceans take over and do what they want. They think they are making the beaches safer, but they are doing nothing but the exact opposite. First of all, like many other fish, when hooked, a shark will intentionally vomit to try and free itself from the hook. All of that stuff will attract other, larger sharks. Blood will attract other, larger sharks. All that these fishermen are doing is trying to bait in the larger sharks. I've got a feeling that some government officials are probably pretty steamed that no white sharks have been caught. None of these man eating sharks that the West Australian Government feared have shown their faces. Not a single one.

There is a reason that the large sharks, after being killed, are dragged a long ways offshore before being dumped. It is to prevent the large sharks from coming closer to shore. Killing the small sharks where their caught does absolutely nothing but do the exact opposite of what the fishermen are "trying" to do in dragging the large ones offshore. It makes no sense to me. It really doesn't and at this point I am willing to say that these fisherman do not have an ounce of knowledge on the behaviors of the animals that they are hunting. That, or they just do not care in the least bit about the "plan to keep beaches safe" and would much rather just kill sharks for the Hell of it. Again, this cull needs to end. It is doing nothing to keep beaches safe. It is doing nothing to ensure the survival of surfers. It is doing nothing to conserve shark populations. It is doing nothing but killing sharks, most of which are too young to even breed, damaging the populations of shark species in the area, and making the beaches more dangerous for swimmers. There is a reason that the drum lines were pulled before a swimming even took place. They are attracting sharks. They need to be pulled and never put back into the sea again.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

What the West Australia Shark Cull Has Taught Me

Greetings again everyone and welcome to blog number 2 of tonight's double blog feature. So after thanking a group who had decided to take a stand for the dolphins of Taiji I have decided to share what I have learned from the ongoing shark cull in West Australia.

So far I have learned a great deal as to why politicians should keep themselves out of things that can effect the populations of threatened or endangered species. I've learned that the politicians of West Australia find nothing wrong with killing animals that are protected. I've learned that these same politicians who felt that their methods of catching sharks would produce no bycatch is incredibly flawed. I've learned despite the fact that a large number of people continue to protest, the West Australia (W.A.) Government is clearly ignoring it's people. I've also learned that in a sense this cull is not all that different from the Japanese whaling program or dolphin slaughters. At least (legal or not) they are making use of the animals they kill as opposed to just dumping them at sea. Lastly I've learned that the ever deadly and present great white shark has yet to be caught (as far as I've seen) and killed in this cull leading me to believe that their numbers off of W.A. may not be so overwhelming as politicians think. So that's what I've learned.... Now what should the W.A. government have learned by now?

If anything they should have learned one thing. There are a lot of sharks off the coast of W.A.. With that being said, the number of shark attacks that have occurred off of W.A. are extremely small compared to the number of tiger, bull, and white sharks that appear to be in the area. Or if photos show anything, they should have learned that their way of catching the sharks could in fact lead to drownings, entanglement, and bycatch. Sadly though it is apparent that they have not learned anything.

Above is one of the latest images that has surfaced from the cull. In this picture you can see a female tiger shark being dragged up a slipway. Notice a few things about her. Notice the lines of the buoys are wrapped around her. More importantly notice the size of her belly. Personally I think this is the result of one of two things. Choice A. She had been dead for a while and her body had simply bloated. Choice B. This was a pregnant female that was killed from becoming entangled in the line and drowning. I'm for now going with choice B. According to West Australians for Shark Conservation (WASC) a call was placed at 11:30am notifying authorities of a struggling shark on the line. It wasn't until after 4:00pm that a boat arrived at the line. The shark had been dead for a while at that point. It was estimated to be 2.4-2.7 meteres in length, which would be too small to cull. It is not unheard of for a tiger shark to be mature at that length, so it is very possible that she was pregnant, but we will never know as it was dragged out and dumped at sea like the other victims of this cull.

Photo: I received this email today and was asked to post it anonymously:

I was on the water today and have supplied the images going around. After many days out there we were finally in the right place at the right time and I hope these images are shared far and wide to show people the reality of this campaign.

There are however a couple of points I’d like to make:
Firstly regarding Fisheries, we have spoken with the officers on several occasions and always found them to be very professional and courteous. None of them seem happy about the job they’ve been given to do, there is no sense targeting them as they are just doing a really horrible job forced on them by our government. Please do not take any action against these guys, it will be totally counterproductive to our efforts and make it harder to be on the water with them. The only action to take is positive actions towards the government as this will be won on political grounds not direct action. Please complete an EPA submission and write to your local members of parliament and ministers, keep attending the rallies and keep up the pressure, eventually we will win!

The second point refers to the posted photo above, it is of the first shark caught and released at Mullaloo today. It is really important that the general public is made aware that every undersized shark caught and released is in a damaged condition, some may live, others may last a few hours or days and eventually die from their injuries. Given the size of hook and the large number of small sharks I’d say the majority are in the later category. After being released today that shark swam around on the surface for a while, quite clearly injured and disorientated, it looked like the hook had been swallowed and it was bleeding heavily from the gills. This is exactly what will bring more larger sharks into the shallow water from further offshore to investigate and once in close they will pick up the sound of swimmers etc and come closer still. These drumlines are increasing the risk of human/shark interaction at our beaches, not making things safer. Please talk to your friends, especially the pro cullers or fence sitters and educate them as to why the drum lines won’t work.

Here we have a picture of a very small tiger shark being released. First of all don't celebrate the release just yet. You have to know the details first. First of all the politicians claimed that the hooks would be a size that smaller sharks would not be able to hook themselves on. I see that worked great. Moving on... This shark, as well as others that have been released returned to the sea badly injured. According to WASC, this little tiger shark after being released swam at the surface for a while. During this time it was seen bleeding heavily from the gills. Odds are the shark had swallowed the hook and the fisherman probably ripped it out. In essence, they most likely killed this shark and in the process did not help make keep beaches safer, but making them more dangerous. How you ask? Well WASC bring up a very good point. Whenever the fishermen release a shark in as poor a condition as this one, there is a lot of blood in the water. That attracts other, larger sharks closer to shore. That coupled with the swimmers splashing about brings them even closer to shore as they search for whatever it is that left the blood behind. It's common sense. Something that apparently the W.A. government has no interest in listening to.

Day by day this cull is growing more and more disgusting. More and more stories from the front lines are coming out and more horror stories like the ones above are being told. If the W.A. government can't ever hire people to properly check the lines, than each and every one of those lines should be pulled. If that tiger shark was pregnant, than not only was one shark killed, but 12 or so babies as well. If the fisherman checked the lines as frequently as they were supposed to, then perhaps all of those sharks would still be alive as the female was not large enough to be culled (though she probably would have been anyway). All of this in the name of safety? I think not. It is clear that this cull is nothing more than the W.A. government declaring war on sharks. I know it sounds silly, but that's what it is. This cull is still going on and until it ends I will continue to spread the word about the horror that it is.

If you would like to keep up to date on it yourself or even help spread the word go on Facebook and search West Australians for Shark Conservation. They are a shark conservation group that is on the front lines documenting the cull via photos and video. Share all of their posts about the cull and help expose it for what it is. I'll be posting again on this cull in the near future. Until next time I hope you all take care and had a happy Valentine's Day.

Thank You Anonymous Operation Killing Bay!

Greetings once again to you all. This is the first of what will probably two blogs this evening. This one is short sweet and to the point. I just want to publicly express gratitude towards the hacktivist group Anonymous. If this is your first time reading my blog I want to say that no I am not a hacker and I would not normally agree with the hacking and exposing of people's personal information, but here is why I am totally okay with the things that happened during Operation Killing Bay.

Back in November of 2013, this video surfaced on Youtube.

The group made good on their word. They took a stand for these animals. Each and everyone of the people who hacked into Japanese websites and supporters of Taiji risked their own security to show the world that someone out there was willing to stand up to Japan's dolphin slaughter. The operation gained a very large amount of support on Twitter and became a movement of activists and hacktivists working as one to see the slaughters at Taiji come to a close. Soon after the holidays, the operation had quieted down a bit until Taiji rounded up a superpod of bottlenose dolphins. In response Anonymous launched this video...

Anonymous once again made good on their threats. Sea World's websites were taken offline several times and the town of Taiji's website along with over 1,200 other Japanese websites also shared the same fate. The world's eyes have started to shift back to Taiji. Operation Killing Bay brought in a whole new group of people, some of whom surely had no idea this slaughter was even going on. There is more pressure than ever before for these killings to stop and I do believe that the joint efforts of groups like Sea Shepherd and Anonymous are to thank for that.

Now though, Operation Killing Bay has come to a close. The people who organized and headed the operation have officially moved on and respectfully so. They have decided that right now people are dying and their fight must be 100% focused on human issues. They do love animals. They're proven that and the OpFunKill division of Anonymous will continue to do so, but others simply love humans more. Despite this, the fight is not over. I have seen several Anonymous members stating that they'd like to continue the operation should they be able to gather enough of their fellow members to help out. OpFunKill will continue to fight for the dolphins of Taiji as well as other animals world wide.

So in closing, I would like to say thank you to the members that were the team of Operation Killing Bay. You guys helped to bring awareness back to Taiji and have really aided in the world becoming more aware of this slaughter. To whatever operation you guys are moving on to, continue what you are doing. Do not forgive. Do not forget. Keep up the good fight and hopefully someday down the line our paths in fighting for what's right will cross again.

This concludes my blogging of Operation Killing Bay unless it comes back or is picked up by another group of Anonymous members. This does not conclude my blogging on the Taiji dolphin slaughter. Stay tuned later tonight for a blog about a few different shark topics!  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Some West Austalian Horror/#OpKillingBay Returns

Greetings everyone. Hope everything is going well with all of you. All in all there hasn't been that much news to report. West Australia is still killing sharks. Taiji is still killing dolphins. Japan is still killing whales in a whale sanctuary. Yep, everything appears to be status quo right now which means it's time for the internet war against Taiji to return. Just a few weeks ago, when the superpod of dolphins was driven into the cove, Anonymous declared that it was time for #OpKillingBay to return... And returned it has...

This phase of #OpKillingBay has seen multiple Taiji supporter websites crashed, including Sea World on several occasions and today, February 8th, 2014 there was a twitterstorm using the #OpKillingBay that. It also is starting to look like this will be the final tweetstorm of the operation and from Valentine's Day on, #OpKillingBay will be a part of #OpFunKill, and operation dedicated to fighting animal cruelty regardless of species, location, etc. Personally I think that this is a good thing and though it means some people will probably fall off the map with the switch, a larger number of people who may not be involved in saving the dolphins of Taiji will now be fighting for them! So that's what's going on with that.

I've held off a bit on blogging more about the West Australia shark cull in hopes that the government there would wise up and call it off, but that has not happened and now graphic images have started to surface fueling a lot of fire towards seeing this cull put to an end. Let's start at the first known shark to be killed during this cull to discover what I am talking about.

The first shark that was seen being caught in this cull was a tiger shark... Or was it?

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Well according to this fisherman, they had caught and killed a bull shark. I of course am no expert, but I don't think I have ever seen a striped bull shark. I think it's safe to say that the first shark killed was in fact a tiger shark. It's great to know that the hired guns of the West Australian Government don't even know what it is they are killing. Rumors have been flying that under sized sharks have also been killed intentionally despite not being large enough for the cull. In fact, they are not rumors, they are facts. Let's move on to site B.

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Here we have what is being called an undersized tiger shark. Notice the hook through the skull of the animal. Well, the fisherman apparently had a hard time getting the massive hook out, so instead they decided that this was a good idea...

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Quite literally, they cut the hook out of the sharks head. Mind you, this animal was still very much alive and very much aware as to what was going on when that blade cut into it's skull. Needless to say the animal probably died a short time later. Sea Shepherd managed to get these photos and a few others of how undersized sharks are being treated...

 This is just a small sample of what is going on in this cull that is designed to "improve safety at beaches". The number of sharks killed so far is unknown and the number of undersized sharks killed will probably wind up being hidden as it would feed the fire of protesters whom continue to actively protest the cull in West Australia. The lack of understanding on the part of the West Australia Government as to why there are so many sharks in the area is simply astounding to me.

Again, I am no expert, but I truly believe that this has a lot to do with why there are so many sharks, large and small, that have been seen over the past few years close to shore in West Australia. Humans are amazing creatures aren't they? We have computers, explosives, boats, engines, etc. We also have these things called nets. Big nets. Nets that are capable of scooping literally hundreds, if not thousands of fish out of the ocean in just one scoop. I'm not just talking about one net either. We humans have a ton of these things and we like to use them to feed ourselves, out pets, and simply to make money. What does that do to fish populations though? Well despite some fish having literally millions of babies, populations are still on the decline. It's not the fault of the fish. These fish that have so many babies are doing what they have to to survive as a species. Many of these fish are eaten by sharks and other larger fish. Naturally, the majority of these babies will not make it to adulthood. People have not helped the chances of survival for those fish at all. We come through not just with a mouth that can eat one, two, or perhaps three of these fish no. We come through with a net that can literally take an entire school of fish out of the ocean. Every time we do this we are effecting their population.

With population levels of fish decreasing at sea, predators need to look elsewhere for their food. Since a lot of the commercial fishing takes place offshore a bit, predators such as sharks, seals, and dolphins move in closer to shore to see if there is any food there. This is when these animals come in contact with people. In the case of West Australia... There has apparently been a noteworthy increase in seal populations over the past few years. I think the reason for that is twofold. One reason I think is that the seals have moved into an area where they are now able to find food. They moved to West Australia as a result of their previous home being overfished. The other reason I think there are more seals is because in general there are less sharks. Less predators to pick off seals causing their populations to increase. As you may imagine, where the seals and fish go, the sharks will go. I've got a feeling that if the seals and fish magically vanished from West Australia, the sharks would too. They are there looking for food. Nothing less, nothing more. They are not there to hunt people (which is something that the West Australian Government can't seem to grasp). Yes it is sad that there has been an increase of fatal shark attacks, but one can not logically place all of the blame on an animal that is massive compared to us and has teeth designed to bite through massive amounts of blubber, which we do not have. I have not heard one instance in all of these attacks of a shark literally eating anyone. I've heard of bites, but have yet to hear of a shark actively eating a person. We are not on the menu.

Culling these animals is not the answer. There are plenty of means that have been tested elsewhere to keep sharks away from beaches that have worked, including another shark hot spot, South Africa where shark nets and electric systems have done a pretty good job at keeping sharks away from bathers. All that the cull is going to accomplish is further injuring the already crippled populations of three species of threatened sharks. I propose a plan that would never, and I mean never, be implemented, but it's fun for me to think about. What if for a period of time, fisherman off of West Australia stopped fishing and allowed fish stocks to rally back. I'm curious what would happen. Personally, I think the sharks, and seals for that matter would be happy to return to the sea where they have to deal with less interactions with people as long as they are able to find food. I'm sure politicians would disagree with that thought, but it seems to make logical sense to me. I could be totally wrong in that thought process, but until I'm proven otherwise, that is my theory. So what is the best answer for this shark "issue"?

Outside of closing beaches I don't know that there actually is a best answer. Culling the sharks will do nothing. It will reduce overall shark populations, but it will not stop sharks from coming close to shore, and more importantly, it will not stop sharks from migrating to an area that has a consistent food source. If West Australia wants to protect bathers they need to look into ways that will be safe for both sharks and humans alike. Again, the cull is not the answer. Abusing animals that are doing nothing more than trying to survive until they bleed to death from massive cuts in their heads is not the answer. Shooting an animal 3-4 times in the head and dumping it's body at sea is not the answer. Having over 70 baited lines sitting in the water is not the answer. Government officials, fishermen, and conservationists all need to have a nice sit down and discuss real alternatives to culling. There are ways to do it as opposed to committing a needless genocide on animals that are doing the very same thing we are trying to do. Survive.