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16 July 2012 - WA Shark cull must be called off      

WA Shark cull must be called off

16 July, 2012                                          

Humane Society International (HSI) today called on the Western Australian Government to take a measured approach following the tragic death over the weekend of Ben Linden in Western Australia.

HSI’s deep sympathies are with the family of Ben Linden, however the culling of the shark is an unnecessary and disappointing reaction,” said Alexia Wellbelove 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. We therefore call on the WA Government to call off the shark cull 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 Ms Wellbelove.  “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. HSI welcomes the funds committed to date by the WA Government to better understand great white sharks, and urges the WA Government to continue to focus their efforts in this area.”

“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 response,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.

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