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!

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