Western Australia was the site of the first attack on a shark and it happened on Australia Day this past weekend. The ten foot long tiger shark was captured and killed by a fisherman. The shark was the first victim in a new culling plan that was given the go ahead by the government of Western Australia. This plan of culling the sharks will be in place until the end of this year.
There have been seven deaths related to shark attacks in the last few years. Eight-two percent of Australians, along with environmentalists, are emphatically against the idea of culling sharks. These people are calling for the government to look at much more humane options to deal with the sharks and the possibility of future shark attacks.
The government of Western Australia is standing their ground, however. They view the sharks as vicious and ferocious animals that need to be stopped. The government is arguing that swimmers and surfers are in extreme danger, and that tourism could suffer from the knowledge of shark attacks in Australia. Their argument is that this was the only available option to protect the safety of the general public.
People opposed to the culling are arguing that there are many other options. One option would be to provide netting or mesh barricades around the areas most populated by water enthusiasts. Another option includes the use of apps and mobile alerts. Lifeguards have also been known to warn the public of any dangers. Many citizens feel that they are already free from harm and are aware of necessary common sense precautions they must take when going into the water.
The culling plan was put in place and given the green light in Western Australia by Greg Hunt. Hunt is part of the Australian House of Representatives and responsible for the exception granted to a law regarding the killing and hunting of sharks. The law that was originally in place protected the sharks from hunters. This law is called the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The law includes the once protected Great White Shark and classifies it as a vulnerable species. All of the sharks are no longer safe from attack in Western Australia.
Activists are outraged at the sheer brutality and horrible treatment against these sharks. Culling is a process where bait is set out and the sharks, once drawn to it, are killed in an effort to control the population. The bait is on fishing lines attached to large metal drums. The various species of sharks being caught and killed will include tiger sharks, great whites and the bull shark. Once they are lured in and captured, the sharks will be shot in the head. Their bodies will then be thrown back into the ocean. They will die a brutal and agonizing death.
The threat to the ecosystem of the earth is also a concern to activists and to the public. Activists caution that when shark hunters do not understand the sharks and their environment, more damage will be created in the long term. The idea is to learn more about sharks and how to deal with and prevent the shark attacks in a non-deadly manner.
The government of Western Australia is feeling like they have no other viable alternatives available and they are standing by their decision. The attack on the tiger shark in Western Australia is just the beginning of a massive hunt intended to kill more sharks. Activists and the public alike are working hard to promote other options that can be implemented to protect the people as well as the sharks.
by Saki Kahala