The shark culling program in Western Australia is atrocious. It boggles my mind to think that anyone can think it is a good idea. Yes, shark attacks are tragic, but you have to face the fact that we don’t own the beaches and the coastal waters, and they are a vital part of individual habitats and vast ecosystems, with thousands and thousands of other organisms calling them home. If you want to go swimming where they live, accept that you may actually encounter some of them.
“You can kill any shark that gets out of the sea and starts killing us in our natural habitat of streets and pubs and internet cafes” – Ricky Gervais
There’s not a lot I can do aside from spread awareness of this utter barbarity. So, armed with my mobile phone and some grey craft card, I decided to take my message to the giveit100 masses. Briefly I became a unicycling Great White Shark. Check out my vid!
Like my outfit?
So, what’s this #noWAsharkcull all about?
In Western Australia, seven people have tragically lost their lives in shark attacks in the last three years. In the last 20 years the number of fatalities is only 20. At face value, this looks a lot like the probability of being attacked by a shark is increasing, and that the waters are becoming more dangerous. But any smart person knows that a correlation does not necessarily mean cause and effect. What about the amount of people heading into the oceans? Has that increased? Are more people venturing out further from the beaches?
In any case, the probability of a fatal shark attack is still tiny. In 2012 you were seventeen (17) times more likely to just drown at the beach (17 deaths by drowning versus one fatal shark attack).
Culling will keep us safe!
Despite all this, the WA Government thinks that there is a serious problem – serious enough to put culling plans into place. Drum lines with baited hooks are being deployed to catch – and kill – sharks larger than 3 metres; meaning Great Whites. Great White Sharks are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, officially listed as “Vulnerable”, so this is totally bananas, yet it is happening. The first shark was killed on Australia Day, which is supposed to be a proud day.
Worse still, these enormous hooks don’t just catch 3 metre sharks, do they? No. There have been a number of reports that undersized Tiger Sharks have been killed on the lines. A “near threatened” species, by the way.
Jump on the band wagon
There’s an online petition you can sign if you disagree with the culling here: http://www.nosharkcull.org/petition. Like I said, I can’t imagine how anyone can actually support the culling, but it happens (protesters in Perth had eggs thrown at them by culling supporters calling them hippies), so the more friends the protest can get, the better. Spread the word.
And if you get stuck explaining why sharks are awesome, here’s a little help…