What are your thoughts? Personally I am horrified
A PLAN to protect West Australian beachgoers by killing great white sharks that come too close has angered animal welfare advocates and conservationists.
Many were also affronted by Premier Colin Barnett's dismissal of the animals as just "fish''.
The government today announced a $6.85 million package of "shark mitigation'' strategies in response to five fatal attacks in the state's waters within 10 months.
It has allocated $2 million for a new Department of Fisheries service to track, catch and destroy sharks found in close proximity to swimmers.
The government has also redefined the circumstances in which an order may be given to kill sharks that pose an imminent threat to humans.
"Previously the orders were used in response to an attack, but now proactive action will be taken if a large white shark presents imminent threat to people,'' Fisheries Minister Norman Moore said.
Baited drum lines could also be set to capture sharks that presented a danger, he said.
Premier Colin Barnett said it was "not going to be a shark hunt''.
"We will always put the lives and safety of beachgoers ahead of the shark,'' he told ABC radio.
"This is, after all, a fish - let's keep it in perspective.''
The Conservation Council of WA said the "guilty until proven innocent'' approach was a kneejerk reaction to public concern that would harm the environment and would not protect swimmers.
"We urge the government not to use the new kill powers for sharks,'' CCWA marine co-ordinator Tim Nicol said.
"We are ... concerned that this policy perpetuates the fear that all large sharks are potential killers, when in fact we do not know this.''
The Wilderness Society was also critical of "pre-emptive cullings'', while ABC radio talkback callers flooded the phone lines, with many saying the best way to stay safe was to stay out of the shark's habitat.
Some said the strategies were vote-grabbing stunts.
Mr Barnett also today reiterated his opposition to shark nets because they posed a threat to marine life.
Instead, $2 million will go towards continuing shark tagging programs, including the use of GPS tracking systems, while $2 million will go into a research fund over four years.
Mr Nichol welcomed the research funding.
"If we want to reduce fear of swimming at our beaches, then we need to engage in research and education, not in killing with no purpose,'' he said.
"For example, we need to explain the times of year that are most dangerous because of oceanic events that attract large sharks to feed near shore, for example when snapper are spawning in Cockburn Sound.''
University of WA, where researchers are developing shark attack deterrent wetsuits, also welcomed the research funding.
The government also pledged $200,000 for a feasibility study and trial of a beach enclosure to protect swimmers, $500,000 for extra jet skis for Surf Lifesaving WA, and $150,000 for community awareness programs, including a smartphone application.
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30-09-2012 09:27 #1
SHARK MENACE: Licence to kill sharks close to swim beaches
30-09-2012 10:20 #2
If sharks were coming into people's yards and mauling them to deal, then it's a little more understandable... but how ridiculous to kill a creature because you're inhabiting ITS home. It's not like it really has any other choice than the ocean.
It's a risk you take when you enter the sea. It's not required to enter the sea. You won't die if you can't. If you really want to enter the sea, then you acknowledge there's a TINY TINY risk you may get attacked by a shark or other sea creatures. Don't like those tiny tiny chances? Then don't enter the fricken sea, or swim in places where there are shark nets to offer a little more protection.
Seriously, people are such arrogant fools who think the own the planet sometimes...
30-09-2012 10:21 #3
How ridiculous. Why stop at sharks? Let's start killing all the crocodiles because they are dangerous also? And hey I almost died in a car accident because of a kangaroo, let's start knocking them off too...we have more chance of being killed in a car accident than a shark attack, how horrible to start killing them because of sporadic random attacks. I understand it is terrible for the people to lose their lives to sharks, but eradicating them like they are cane toads won't really help. Poor sharks.
30-09-2012 10:42 #4
DP goes out on the boat quite a bit and he said in the past year there has been at last 1 shark seen each time he has been out and he usually goes about 10 to 15 km out. Usually they are tiger sharks. The problem is they are starting to get aggressive and are starting to go for boats now. Actually the problem is their food is being taken away and there is a big unbalance in their food chain. But I think what should be done, because there really does appear to be 1 or 2 rogues sharks out there, is to start putting GPS trackers on any sharks sighted and then use the data to track them. If they are responsible for the attacks then deal with them. but to go after them whether they attacked or not? I don't think that is right.
Disclaimer: I haven't read all this thread but I live in WA and have heard about this as well.
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30-09-2012 11:22 #5
isn't there a more natural way to deal with it?? lets invest some serious money into research as to deterrents to use at the beach??
Most people who have been attacked (and families of those who have lost their lives) show no anger or resentment toward sharks ...
I think more people die from bees each year dont they?
30-09-2012 11:36 #6
I think it's awful and i'm really horrified that it is going ahead. It saddens me, I agree with everything Sassy said - it's THEIR natural environment that we are entering, so why kill them?
I think a lot of it is to do with tourism to be honest...W.A. is renowned for their beaches...let's not let those pesky sharks deter the tourists!
30-09-2012 12:05 #7
I live in Perth (500 metres from the beach) and yes there does seem to be more sharks around each summer, but culling is not the answer. The reasons are very complex, and also have to do with the migration paths changing as the waters get warmer, as well as reduced fish numbers and lack of food. I have real concerns that culling is ecologically dangerous and could upset the marine balance. It's a very arrogant and short sighted thing to do.
As for the argument that sharks are getting more aggressive to people 10 or 15 km out, personally I think people need to read the signs, adapt or get the hell out of that water. To cull because we are in their territory and we don't like what we see is unfair (not that that's what you were suggesting DSS). Even when a shark has taken a person I don't think it should be hunted and killed.
30-09-2012 14:40 #8
I watched a show yesterday that briefly touched on the shark 'problem' here in Perth/WA. If I remember correctly, the shark specialist guy said(because we are so fearful of sharks) "you tell people they have a 1 in 11,000 chance of being involved in a shark attack...what they hear is that there is a chance they will get attacked by a shark".
I dont swim at the beach anymore. Scares the poop out of me. Im just too paranoid. DP takes DS in and I stand ankle deep, watching them like hawks. DS (8) loves the movie Jaws, but has zero fear of a shark attack. He hears about it on the news and in the newspaper but still isnt afraid to swim at the beach.
I agree with PP that there are a few rouge sharks that frequent our shores. It seems like every year that same one comes back to pick off someone....but thats its nature. Its figured out that there WILL be food in a certain spot so it goes there to eat. We are food, the ocean is its fridge. I think they should do some more investigating and tracking on these sharks who obviously return annually...to just go on a random killing spree doesnt seem to make sense to me.
30-09-2012 17:09 #9
I watched a show last night "how jaws changed the world " or something like that.. It was very enlightening. I bawled my eyes out watching it, people just "finning sharks" then dumping them in the sea.
We are in there environment, we are taking away their food! By too much over fishing etc.
This is the circle of life? Where does it end One animal eats another.. to keep our planet going!
30-09-2012 19:26 #10
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