Weymouth Sealife Staff Outraged By Shark Cull
8:15am 24th January 2014
A multi million dollar plan to cull sharks off the Western Coast of Australia has met the outrage of staff at Weymouth Sealife Park.
The Government wants to set baited hooks around beaches in Perth to make the water safer for bathers.
Sealife are now urging visitors to sign a petition against the slaughter.
Shark expert Fiona Smith described it as outrageous and 'completely irrational.'
"Quite apart from the fact that many shark species are already on the brink of extinction due to overfishing and decades of persecution, the proposed solution to Perth's shark-attack problem is more likely to exacerbate than to solve it," Fiona added.
"They want to attach lines and baited hooks to drums a mile off-shore and pay commercial fishermen to patrol them and kill any captured shark over three metres long.
"That could include Great Whites, which are a protected species and in sharp decline, as well as species like Tiger and Bull sharks."
Far from removing dangerous sharks, Fiona argues that anything hooked is likely to attract larger predators and potentially bring more sharks closer to shore than were there in the first place.
The plans have prompted massive protest within Australia, including on the affected beaches themselves, and Sea Life Melbourne and Sydney attractions have been at the forefront.
"Even among the families whose loved ones were the victims of shark attacks the majority are opposed to this planned slaughter," said Fiona.
"This is a step back to the kind of hysteria prompted by the film Jaws, which even Jaws author Peter Benchley devoted much of the rest of his life to trying to combat.
"Shark attacks on humans are generally rare and usually the result of mistaken identity, with human bathers mistaken for seals or turtles.
"Sharks are the apex predators and essential to maintaining healthy ocean eco-systems.
"Conservationists already face an uphill struggle trying to end the slaughter of an estimated 70 million sharks per annum so that their fins can be turned into soup," she added.
"This outrageous proposal by the Western Australian Government clearly illustrates how little some people have learned."
Fiona and her colleagues are asking anyone who shares their views on the proposed cull to register their opposition on this online petition.