Target: Parliament of Australia
Goal: To eliminate the use of shark netting that provides inadequate protection for humans, at the cost of endangering helpless ocean species.
Australia and South Africa are two countries who predominantly use shark netting as protection against shark attacks. The use of netting is ineffective and counterintuitive. Despite the size of the netting, most net barriers that you would find in the water near Durban, South Africa, or Queensland, Australia, the depth of the water is almost never completed protected. Sharks can simply swim under, over, or around the netting and still enter the designated ‘safe zone.’
Although the netting doesn’t offer full protection from the predators, the nets are appearing to reduce the amount of shark attacks slightly. However, neighboring beaches that do not have shark netting protection are reporting a higher concentration of shark sightings and incidents. Thus, the use these nets are only concentrating the sharks towards other popular beaches.
Similar to fish that get caught in the plastic rings from soda packs, the shark deterring nets pose a threat to many species. Dolphins, turtles, and even humpback whales have been known to get tangled up in the 1,000 foot nets, and usually they’re not able to escape on their own. Because of this, the wildlife snared by the net actually attract more sharks into the area.
The mayor of Maui, Hawaii, Alan Arakawa, has recently announced his decision to not implement shark nets despite the increasing amount of annual shark attacks. Four attacks near Maui have been reported so far this year, but still the mayor plans on enforcing more long-term solutions to the problem, such as increasing the fish population, as well as keeping the water as clean as possible by reducing any ocean dumping. Arakawa states that the ocean is their habitat, and people need to be smarter when they surf or swim alone, far away from shore, or in murky water.
By signing the petition below, you will help urge Australian and South African government and wildlife organizations to discontinue the use of ineffective shark nets. The nets are proving to be doing more harm than good, and numerous amounts of helpless ocean species continue to pay the price.
Dear Parliament of Australia,
I am writing to you today to urge you to ban the use of shark nets. Shark netting has become increasingly popular in Australia and South Africa as an inadequate protective barrier against shark attacks. The nets, while a good concept in theory, are causing more harm than good.
The reasoning is that the height of the nets that are thrown into the ocean in order to create a ‘safe zone’, almost never reach the entire depth of the ocean. Sharks can simply swim under, over or around the nets and approach the bay. Secondly, the ocean inhabitants that are completely harmless are more affected by these protective nets than sharks are. Just recently a baby humpback whale was caught in one of the nets near Queensland, Australia, and couldn’t escape on its own. Lastly, the existence of these nets do deter some sharks from getting too close to the bay, however, neighboring beaches that don’t offer netting begin to experience an influx of shark sightings and incidents. Please, I urge you to find better, more humane alternatives to shark nets as protection against shark attacks.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: The Wilderness Society via Flickr