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.


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