Does any of you in the class know the themed music for jaws? of course you do, we all do. Because sharks are really scary arn’t they? Sadly Films such as this as well as the media have built up this huge reputation of sharks being threatening, alarming ; Dangerous monsters of the sea. It’s a tragedy! Today I will be arguing for the rights of these misrepresented sharks and how this new “catch and kill policy” is completely wrong.
Firstly I’d like to inform you on what the catch and kill policy actually is. It was a new policy introduced around January by the Western Australia Premier, Colin Barnett due to 6 fatal attacks by sharks in the past 2 years. Barnets plan to combat this is by killing off any sharks which exceed 3 metres long in the Western Australia waters. He has implemented 2 methods. Setting out “Drum lines” (baited hooks attached to drums) a kilometer of the busy shores and also paying professional fisherman to hunt down Great whites, Tiger sharks ; Bull sharks in designated “kill zones”.
Pretty appalling isn’t it? Especially when the Great White shark is an endangered species. 90% of the worlds great white sharks have been killed, and here we are in a country where we greatly appreciate our beaches and marine life are adding to those statistics.
Shark are a predator in the ocean and the potential risks of being attacked by them are known but is killing them really the best solution? Scientist from all over Australia, as well as Marine Life Advocates have been trying to drill in to Barnett that there are better solutions available, and that killing them will have no impact on decreasing the fatal attacks. (Why barrnets doing it, his thoughts behind it)
Since 2011 39 people have died in Western Australia due to fatal car incidents, that more then triples the deaths caused by shark. So does this mean that it is to dangerous to be driving on our roads? Is this going to be another up coming law to be made by Barnett? A quick, illogical solution to so called protect the people.
Western Australia is a common place for shark sightings. Yet the reasons for
this is not because of there growing population but due to the increasing numbers of seals and whales heading in to the shallower waters. Even though this is the case, the chance of a fatal attack is still extremely rare. According to a poll from the UMR research company, 80% of Australians haven’t changed how often they swim, surf or take part in other recreational actives in the ocean, even though there has been a rise in shark attacks.
Australian Citizens and anyone else who decides to go and swim at the beach should be well aware of the potential risks of shark attacks.. The ocean is the home to these species, and us? Where just visitors. People keep getting this thought that the increase of shark attacks are due to the increase in there population, but really its the increase in the human population. Gradually as our population grows, more and more people are going to the beaches and participating in water related activities which leads to an increase in shark encounters.
Marine life Activists and others who object to this have stated that it is inhumane, unnecessary and environmentally irresponsible. Throughout Australia there are similar programs that run on the eastern coast that use baited hooks and nets to prevent sharks from entering protected beaches, but the reason why WA’s proposal is extra controversial is because they’re targeting great whites.
The first shark that was killed since the program began was just after 7am on Australia day. It was a 3m female tiger shark caught in meelup beach. The shark had swallowed a large hook attached to a heavy chain in which caused the animal to become increasingly distressed as it was prevented from swimming. The animal thrashed about in the water in apparent agony until it was shot 4 times in the head at a close range with a .22 calibre rifle.
Ever since the laws were passed there has been a lot of backlash from the community. There has been major protests all through out australia as well as internationally in New Zealand ; South Africa. Manly Beach protest organiser Alice Forrest, who is an aquarist at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary has said that the cull is not science based, and rather then helping with
tourism all its going to do is give WA a redneck reputation and decrease the amount of tourism there.
In the 1960’s and 70’s Hawaii implemented a similar proposal which did more bad then good. The program failed to create any kind of significant decrease in shark attacks but managed to kill over 4000 sharks.
The fisherman who has been employed to set and monitor drum lines, and kill and dispose sharks is being paid more then $5,700 a day resulting in over $610,000 for the season. The opposition leader Mark McGowen has stated that the cost is “exorbitant” and is costing tax payers a lot of money that could have gone towards scientific methods to help save lives. Mr Barnett has said that he gets no enjoyment from seeing these shark dies, but he will put his food forward in trying to protect the people. From saying this, the majority of the Western Australian people are against the laws that Barnett has put in place.
The Great White Shark is the top predator of the ocean, meaning that it is not hunted by other animals in the waters. The Great White has been listed as an endangered species due to the over hunting of them for shark teeth and there fins.
Fatal snake attacks in Australia have risen from 2 to 5 deaths in 2013. The controversy with this is however is that these particular brown snakes are an “Australian protected species” so that even though they kill us, We will never kill them. And due to the fact that the great whites roam around waters other then Australians, this makes it okay for us to kill those endangered species.
Scientists have estimated that Sharks are pregnant for roughly 18 months causing them to have slow reproduction rates. This means that it is hard for them to recover there over hunted population. What the Government is doing is not saving the people, but killing out an endangered species. There is no evidence that suggests that the killing of these sharks will help to prevent shark attacks. Scientists and shark specialists have been on the governments
back about this yet they just don’t want to hear it.
The reality of this is, that whether you like sharks or they do play a crucial role on this planet. If Shark culling keeps going the way it is then it can begin to tamper with our primary air and food sources. Through out the past 450 million years sharks have kept our seas healthy due to being the apex predator of the ocean. The role of sharks is to keep other marine life in a healthy balance. Sharks also have a major impact on the ecosystem that provides for 1/3 of our worlds food, produces more oxygen than all the rain forests combined, removes half of the atmospheres manmade carbon dioxide and controls our planets temperature and weather.
A world without sharks means disastrous effects including the collapse of fisheries and the death of coral reefs. Imagine if sharks do become eliminated from ours waters? Our best natural defence against global warming and the lose of more oxygen then what is produced by all the trees and jungles in the world combined.
Going back to Jaws, 2 Australians Ron & Valery Taylor who were marine conservationists & pioneering cameramen for Spielberg’s Jaws have stated that they felt a sense of shame in a way, that they made so many people terrified of sharks ; going in the water. The unfortunate side of the successful movie is how they’ve demonised this beautiful & majestic creature.
So What is it going to take? Thousands of people from WA and all parts of Australia have been coming to together to try and put an end to this absolute disgraceful policy, & I think its time for the Government to listen before its to late.
We cannot let our shark population being become extinct, We cannot let colin Barnett keep killing these sharks & We cannot give up on fighting for the rights of these sharks.
It’s there water, So stop the slaughter!!!!