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9 October 2013 - WA Shark Kill Must Be Called Off      

WA Shark Kill Must Be Called Off

9 October, 2013                        

Humane Society International (HSI) today called on the Western Australian Government to take a measured approach following the recent shark incident in a remote coastal region of Western Australia.

HSI sympathises with the shock and injuries suffered by Mr Pickering, however the killing of the shark is an unnecessary and disappointing reaction,” said Michael Kennedy, Director of Humane Society International. “It is highly unlikely that any shark caught will be the same one responsible for the attack, and in any case, as protected animals the great white shark should not be hunted in this way. Instead we need to look at the broader factors involved. Nor is it known if the great white shark is responsible. We therefore call on the WA Government to call off the kill order immediately.”

Great white sharks have been protected in Australia since 1999 as a result of an HSI nomination, following concerns of their decline. Since that time there is no evidence to suggest that great white sharks have experienced a surge in numbers.

“We still know very little about the great white shark, despite it being a regular visitor to our waters. However, increasingly our activities are taking place in the same waters,” continued Mr Kennedy.  “Whilst we should be aware of the risks of shark attacks, their likelihood is very low in comparison with other threats, and therefore the strong reaction from the Western Australian Government is disappointing, especially at a time when worldwide many countries are increasing their shark conservation efforts.

“Great white sharks like many sharks are very slow to recover from the depletion of their numbers, and although much effort has been put into the conservation of these amazing animals since their protection in 1999, much more needs to be done to reverse this decline. Removal of the great white shark’s protected species status in response to these tragic events would be a premature, unscientific, and a purely populist reaction,” concluded Mr Kennedy.

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