Further Rallies Planned Against WA’s Catch and Kill Shark Policy
Article provided by Sea Shepherd Australia
On February 1st 2014 surfers, scientists and conservationists will once again join members of the general public in gathering to denounce the Western Australian Government’s new policy to catch and kill sharks.
After the success of the first rally, held around Australia on January 4th, the movement against the cull has gathered a significant amount of energy. Rallies this time will be held in 14 locations around Australia and as far afield as New Zealand, with increasing global interest and exposure.
The #noWAsharkcull campaign has gathered serious support from international sportsmen and women as well as celebrities, including the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Fry, Greg Norman, AFL Player Nic Naitanui, English Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Adlington, and shark attack survivor Paul de Gelder, who have all either spoken out or shared their opposition to the policy via social media.
“The world is laughing at Australia” states Jordan Crook from Shark Defence Australia. “While the rest of the world moves forward in protecting wildlife including sharks, Australia goes the opposite way. It is very disappointing, and the Australian people are not happy that this is being done in their name.”
WA Premier Colin Barnett’s policy to deploy 72 baited drum lines as close as 1km from popular Western Australian beaches has come under widespread criticism from the community at large. Drum lining techniques have in the past been slammed for their large by-catch rates of untargeted marine creatures such as dolphins and sea turtles, as well as sharks other than the targeted Great White, Tiger and Bull shark species.
“It is 2014 and we should not be culling rare or threatened sharks, especially when like the Great White Shark, they are listed as a Protected Species. We have some of the greatest scientists in the world, and they are being ignored” said Mr Crook.
The policy allows for sharks caught on the drum lines measuring over 3 metres in length to be killed immediately and their carcasses dumped at sea. Aside from the public’s fear that the dumping of carcasses along with the baits, could in fact attract more sharks to the area, scientists are concerned that these methods pose significant risks to worldwide shark breeding populations, in particular Great White Sharks who may not reach sexual maturity until at least 15 years of age, by which time they would be well over 3 metres in length.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt this week granted the WA Government a temporary exemption from national environment laws protecting great white sharks, allowing Premier Barnett to push forward with his plans without undergoing an assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which forms the Australian Government's central piece of environmental legislation.
Those opposed to the plan are pushing for more research and funding for science and technology that may be able to provide non-lethal alternatives to culling sharks, including a tracking system that is already successfully utilised by Surf Life Saving WA.
Shark expert Paul Sharp believes that “over 80% of everyday Aussies now oppose shark culling. The Western Australian Government, and indeed the Federal Minister for Environment the Hon. Greg Hunt, have severely misread public sentiment on the shark cull”.
Mr. Sharp added, “The domestic and international backlash stands to gravely damage WA's tourism industry, more so than any shark accident ever could".
Jeff Hansen Australian Sea Shepherd manager and director “If the Drum lines are so safe Mr Barnett, if they are not going to ATTRACT sharks Mr Barnett, THEN WHY ARE YOU REMOVING THEM BEFORE THE ROTTNEST SWIM”
The Sydney rally will be held at the Manly Beach Corso at 11.00am,Aboriginal elder Uncle Bruce Shillingsworth Senior from the Muruwari Tribe will open the event.
Followed by speeches from Paul Sharp (Shark expert), Cate Faehramm (Greens NSW MP), Tim Silverwood (Environmentalist and surfer), Jools Farrell (Sea Shepherd Representative), Sharnie Connell/Alice Forrest from (Sea life conservation) and Michael AW from (Ocean Geographic).
Musical acts will also be announced closer to the date; some fantastic Australian talent will be on display.
Corresponding events to be held at:
Perth, WA: Cottesloe Beach
Warnboro, WA: Warnboro Beach
Bunbury, WA: Bunbury Beach
Dunsborough, WA: Meelup Beach
Coral Bay, WA: Main Beach
The Entrance, NSW: The Entrance Boathouse
Kingliscliff, NSW: Faulks Park Kingscliff
Burleigh, QLD: Justin Park
Melbourne, VIC: State Library
Torquay, VIC: Fishermans Beach
Glenelg, SA: Moseley Square
Adelaide, SA: Online Photo bomb rally
Wellington, NZ: Australia High Commission
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