Target: West Australian Premiere Colin Barnett
Goal: Halt the planned killing of sharks through the use of baited drum lines in Western Australia
The Western Australian government has recently set in motion a cruel and highly impractical plan to cull sharks over three meters long, the catalyst being six fatal attacks in the past three years. Hopefully one may pause for a moment to consider the implications of this: mass and indiscriminate killing of sharks using baited hooks on drum lines—which will inevitably snare various untargeted sea-life—and mobilized boats with a license to kill in what is ostensibly retaliation for an average of 2 attacks a year.
Besides the threat to a species that already struggles to survive, the baited hooks threaten all marine life who may become entrapped, from dolphins to endangered sea turtles. There is no way to discriminate which animals may take the bait, and no way to prevent death of bycatch or sharks that do not fit the profile yet die of exhaustion or predation. Also of concern: the sex of sharks captured and killed will likely skew towards female sharks, which on average tend to be larger than males, impacting future shark populations to an unforeseeable degree. Even those sharks officially protected by law, such as the Great White, will not be spared. Sharks that are not killed on the lines will be shot by fishermen, the bodies dumped back into the ocean.
The government has stated that this plan will go forward regardless of the protests of thousands of people, in the name of reducing shark attacks. Yet the drum lines will serve only to bring in more sharks, increasing human-shark encounters. Prey animals caught on lines and in distress send out clear signals to any sharks within the vicinity to home in for a meal, and inevitably human beings and sharks will share the same waters in even greater numbers.
The marine environment already faces substantial danger from pollution and climate change. To target an apex predator—many species of which are endangered—in such an uncontrolled and misguided action is essentially unethical and irresponsible. It is a move that speaks more to vengeance than finding a true solution with the scientific information available to humanity. There are far better ways to reduce shark attacks than to destroy these animals.
By signing this petition, you are adding your voice to the thousands of Australian citizens who have already protested this unethical slaughter.
Dear Premier Colin Barnett,
I was stunned and extremely disturbed to learn of the planned slaughter of sharks over three meters using baited hooks and drum lines. I feel this is a highly misguided and dangerous plan that will serve only to create more human-shark conflict and negatively impact a species already facing serious trouble. Not only will these baited hooks serve to indiscriminately kill other marine life and sharks that do not fit the target specifications, but the wide-spread effects of this killing are unknowable.
Also, such measures will only bring sharks in closer for a meal, and increase human-shark encounters. There is too the problem of bycatch: these baits may be taken by or snare non-target animals, including endangered marine life, and there is no way to limit this at all.
I am asking that this slaughter be halted, and the Western Australian government turn to different solutions. I realize that sharks are widely feared, and attacks have increased, but it is an inevitable danger when entering the ocean, and our marine life is already facing a difficult and possibly bleak future with the impact of climate change and human activities. To condemn so many animals to death because of fear is wrong, and I urge you to stop this plan and reassess your options.
[Your Name Here]