It’s time to end politically fuelled shark killing
Humane Society International (HSI) has today called on the Federal and State Governments to reconsider their outdated attitude to the risk of shark bites following the huge public outcry in response to the introduction of another shark control program in Western Australia, and end the unnecessary killing of sharks.
“It is clear from recent outrage at the WA shark cull that the Australian public is frustrated at the continued adoption of the old fashioned and ineffective approach of killing without any question or consideration of the vital role sharks play in our ocean environment,” said HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove. “Shark control programs are simply politically fuelled shark killing programs which Governments use as a short term reaction, that fail to meet their designated aim – to reduce the risk of shark bites to people.”
“Thousands of Australians have spoken out at public events and written to the WA and Federal Governments calling for an end to the killing. In addition, following an international action by HSI, more than 33,000 supporters from around the world have also called on Premier Colin Barnett to end WA’s unscientific and unjustified program. This is in addition to thousands of other letters, submissions to the WA Environmental Protection Authority and even shark bite survivors and victim’s families speaking out against the killing of sharks,” continued Ms Wellbelove. “How much more evidence do Governments need that the public do not support so called ‘shark control programs’?”
HSI is also calling on the Federal Government to undertake a review of all shark control programs taking place in Australian states, with a view to assessing the overall impact these programs are having on protected species.
“With shark control programs now underway in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, the threats to our threatened and listed species are increasing, as is the level of public despair.”
“Shark control programs have been responsible not only for the targeted deaths of great white sharks that are protected under state and federal environment laws, but also thousands of other protected animals such as whales, dolphins, sea turtles, dugongs and other listed sharks such as mako sharks and the critically endangered grey nurse shark. This fact was recognised over ten years ago by the NSW Government when they acknowledged NSW’s shark control program and its associated shark nets were responsible for the death of threatened marine species, listing the program as a key threatening process under the NSW Fisheries Management Act.”
“If Australia is serious about meeting international and domestic commitments to shark conservation, it needs to up its game and tackle the shark control programs and their environmental impacts head on,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.