Target: Environmental Protection Authority Chairman, Dr. Paul Vogel
Goal: Support decision to halt shark cull and save a vulnerable species from being unnecessarily killed
After a series of fatal shark attacks in Western Australia, a government-proposed shark cull began its trial run with baited traps known as drum lines placed along seven beaches to catch sharks. The 13-week trial run was responsible for catching more than 170 sharks. The proposal was mercifully shot down by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) due to uncertainty about the possible effects of the traps on the marine ecosystem.
The EPA expressed specific concern for the white shark population, which is listed as a vulnerable species, despite evidence that none had been caught during the trial run. White sharks were also believed to be responsible for most of the fatal attacks. Of the sharks that were caught, 50 of them were over 10 feet long and were shot by contractors. Twenty were found already dead on hooks or were killed because they were too weak to survive, and 90 more were tagged and released.
This devastating overreaction to seven fatal shark attacks has been widely condemned by conservationists internationally and heavily protested by the Australians it is meant to protect. Thousands of Australians took to the beaches in a mass protest in February 2014 and the EPA’s review of the trial was the subject of two petitions with over 25,000 signatories and nearly 7,000 submissions.
Figures have shown that shark-related fatalities in Australia average about one every 50 years. While seven deaths in just three years is a large figure in comparison, mass, expensive and indiscriminate culling clearly is not a solution the public can get behind and has the potential to wreak havoc on the rich marine wildlife of Western Australia’s beautiful coast.
While the EPA has halted plans to go forward with the full scale cull, there is still a chance for repeal in the upcoming months. Sign this petition in support of the EPA’s recommendation against the proposed three-year shark cull and make it clear that a repeal will be met with strong opposition.
Dear Chairman Vogel,
The shark cull proposed by the Western Australian government is both costly and dangerous, indiscriminately killing sharks of all sizes or leaving them too weak to survive, catching unintended species of marine life and inviting more sharks with the bait of wounded animals on hooks. This clearly is not the best solution to stem the recent increase in fatal shark attacks. In fact, white sharks over 10 feet long, which are believed to be the culprits of many of the attacks, are listed as a vulnerable species, and of the 172 sharks caught during the trial run, none were great whites. There is no telling what the impact on the marine ecosystem could be by putting these and other large wildlife at risk.
I stand behind thousands of concerned Australians and fully support the EPA’s recommendation to halt plans for a full scale shark cull.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sharkdiver.com via Wikimedia Commons
Original petition: Stop Planned Slaughter of Sharks