Under Western Australia’s Government’s new “shark hazard mitigation” policy, two specially monitored zones will be declared off the metropolitan and South West coastlines between September and April, and 72 drumlines are to be set up 1km from the shoreline and fished until May 2014.
Any shark greater than 3m in length found swimming within the monitored zones will be caught and destroyed by commercial fisherman, including endangered species such as the Great White Shark, and some other species not necessarily even considered a threat to humans. These harsh and unforgivable measures were put in place after the most recent shark bite fatality in November in order to reduce the number of shark attacks in the future.
According to a recent article published in The West Australian publication on the 14th of December, there were more than 15 instances since the 9th of December where sharks larger than 3m were spotted inside those zones. They were primarily Bronze Whalers and Tiger Sharks, although some of the other sharks spotted were unidentified in terms of species or size.
Dr. Ryan Kempster, shark biologist and Founder of Support Our Sharks, recently drafter an open letter to the Western Australian Government calling them to reconsider the “shark hazard mitigation” policy in favour of a non-lethal approach to shark management. This open letter has since gathered the support of more than 100 shark scientists and professionals who are apposed to the Government’s shark cull policy and the use of drumlines. Another shark biologist, Dr. Barbara Wueringer, also started a public petition against the shark cull policy which has since gathered more than 33,000 people.
Many people have started to question the merits of drumlines being set to capture the sharks, including the Shadow fisheries minister, Dave Kelly. He said that up to 60% of the sharks that drumlines had killed in Queensland over the past two years were smaller than 2m.
Education and proper communication of knowledge will play a key role in trying to find an effective solution that will not harm the sharks.
Join African Shark Eco-Charters on one of our Great White Shark cage diving and breaching trips, and let us educate you about the importance of sharks in our oceans and why they are worth protecting, in an effort to help save sharks.