April 16, 2014

STOP KILLING WESTERN AUSTRALIAN SHARKS

Australia

                                                                                Art by Keiko Olds

STOP KILLING WESTERN AUSTRALIAN SHARKS!!!

When someone says 'man-eating shark', people automatically assume shark's prey are humans. To sharks, humans, seals and penguins all look similar. Up to now, humans have entered the shark's domain as prey. To make an area in the ocean that is safe for humans and shark-free is the worst idea to carry out. Would seals eliminate sharks because they're dangerous? Seals stay in the sea and grow up there despite the dangers that surrounds them. They take care of themselves and be cautious. If humans don't want to be attacked, the simple solution is not to enter the ocean. But, if it is necessary for swimmers and divers to explore the ocean in a safe environment, we need to think of a animal-friendly way. Take care of yourself when you enter the waters, and be aware that there may be sharks nearby. Sharks are a top predator and a keystone species that are vital to the ocean's ecosystem. The ocean belongs to the organisms that live within it. It is not human property. It is important to follow the ocean's rule. To control nature through human power is not meant to be. 
~Keiko Olds~

The Western Australian Government has announced a $6.85 million package of what it refers to as "shark mitigation strategies". $2 million will be allocated for the Department of Fisheries to track and destroy the sharks, while another $2 million will be spent specifically tracking great whites and setting drum lines to kill them if they come too close to shore.

The great white is a well known threatened species and this plan completely goes against the federal government's White Shark Recovery Plan, which recognizes that the great white shark is fully protected in both Commonwealth and WA waters. Needlessly removing sharks from our oceans would affect the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem, which could be ecologically and economically devastating. The ocean is the shark's natural habitat and humans are not naturally aquatic mammals. This scheme would not create a long term solution to shark fatalities and tax payer's money would be better put towards increased helicopter patrols, more research and better public education about avoiding shark hazards.

BBC NEWS:A shark cull divides a nation http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26937924

An exhibition in Sydney has tried to educate people about great whites

◎What’s the real risk of being bitten by a

shark in Western Australia?


Statistics show us that even a spate of deaths like that in WA could be a simple quirk of fate. But assuming there are underlying factors at play, what might they be?


The fact that white sharks prey on humpback whales suggests that a key risk factor for shark bites is their attraction to the region during the annual humpback whale migration. In early winter, mature humpbacks travel north along the WA coast to the Kimberley region, before returning to Antarctica in late winter and spring. Mothers who have calved during this time lag a few months behind the main migration, resting from time to time in shallow coastal bays with their young.


My analysis – which, it must be stressed, is undergoing peer review at the time of writing – shows that shark bite frequency has grown exponentially between 1973 and 2013. During this time, humpback whale populations along the WA coast have grown at 10% per year. My work suggests that these two factors are closely linked.


The theory is bolstered by the fact that two-thirds of white shark bites occur during months when humpback whales are migrating through the local area. Roughly half of white shark bites on humans happen in spring, when humpback mothers and calves are migrating south.


Coupled with this circumstantial evidence is the fact that whale meat, usually obtained by scavenging dead whales rather than by direct hunting, contributes more than any other food by mass to the diet of large white sharks.


Has the shark population grown?


The true size of WA’s white shark population remains largely a mystery.


What we can say is that white sharks have been protected in most Australian states since the mid to late 1990s, meaning that the first group of white sharks that could have benefited from this protection will now be maturing to adulthood and increasingly preying upon marine mammals as part of their diet. Unfortunately, given the lack of reliable population data, we can’t say much more than that.


Meanwhile, it’s surprising to note that WA’s booming population over the past decade does not appear to be a significant factor in the rate of shark bites.


Participation in surf sports and diving have, if anything, declined slightly over the past decade.


What are the real risks?


In estimating the personal risk of white shark bite, the WA Department of Fisheries has identified water depth, choice of water activity, distance from shore, water temperature, and the presence of marine mammals as important risk factors.


Based on these factors, the risk of a fatal white shark bite varies hugely. My analysis shows that for Perth beachgoers bathing within 25 metres of shore during summer (which is outside the whales' migration period), the risk is no more than 1 in 30 million per swim.


In contrast, for a diver more than 50 metres from shore, in cool waters more than 5 metres deep off WA’s southern coast, in the springtime when whales and their calves are close to shore, the risk may be as high as 1 in 15,000.


To put this in perspective, the risk of being bitten by a shark while swimming at a Perth beach in summer is about 50 times smaller than the risk of a serious or fatal recreational cycling injury in WA, and about 30 times smaller than the risk of being struck by lightning in Australia.



Lightning over Perth - where you’re more likely to be struck by a lightning bolt than bitten by a shark. beninfreo/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Click to enlarge

Reducing risk


Shark bite is an emotive topic, which evokes less-than-rational responses by both individuals and governments.


Based on what we know about the personal risk, the current summer shark culling policy in WA would appear to be unnecessary and at the time of writing is yet to catch or cull a large white shark.


Baiting during summer is very unlikely to reduce the risk of white shark bite during the higher-risk winter and spring months.


Although it may be expected that bite risk will increase as whale abundance continues to grow, for the foreseeable future, for the majority of bathers, it is likely that the risk of shark bite over WA’s summer will remain very low.


For those who choose to participate in higher-risk water activities such as diving, a better understanding of personal risk and the factors that influence shark bites could help people make informed choices about where, when and how to enjoy WA’s superb climate and its beautiful coastline.

13 February 2014 by CONVERSATION http://theconversation.com/uk


★★PETITION★★
The Australian Senate: Prevent proactive killing of white sharks in Australia

Petition Ban the Unprovoked Slaughter of Endangered Great White Sharks 

Stop Plan to Kill Australian Sharks 

Tell Australia Stop Shark Culling! 

Stop the Australian Shark Cull 

Ban the Unprovoked Slaughter of Endangered Great White Sharks

Stop the killing of sharks

To stop the import and trade of shark fins in Australia

Stop Shark Baiting off Western Australian Beaches

Stop the shark cull

Government of Australia: Stopp your shark kill plan!

Tell Australia Stop Shark Culling that is Endangering the Great White Shark Existence!

Stop The Shark Cull 

Stop Country from Allowing Shark Hunting

SAVE OUR SHARKS GREENPEACE 

West Australians for Shark Conservation- WASC Face book

Save Our Seals And Sharks. Face book 

Colin Barnett wants to cull our sharks. Don’t let him.


◎State Government asks Commonwealth to

    approve its shark-kill program until 2017

http://mobile.news.com.au/national/western-australia/state-government-asks-commonwealth-to-approve-its-sharkkill-program-until-2017/story-fnii5thn-1226878001083

↑A shark caught on drum lines off Perth last week. Picture: Water Inspired Juan Oliphant
.Fisheries officers haul a hooked tiger shark onto its vessel before releasing it. Picture: Neil Henderson↑
↓Thousands protested against the shark-kill at a rally at Cottesloe Beach earlier this year.
THE Barnett Government has sought Commonwealth approval to continue its shark-kill program for a further three years as crews yesterday attempted to catch a four-metre great white off Perth.
Shark drum lines would be deployed 1km off beaches in Perth and the South-West between November 15 and April 30, referral documents show.
Yesterday a massive 4m great white forced the closure of several beaches after it was first spotted off Trigg Beach, then Scarborough and City and Floreat beaches.
After three years, the controversial shark attack mitigation measure would be subject to review.
The papers reveal new detail about how the shark-kill would continue next summer, including:
● Catch data will be published each month on the Department of Fisheries website;
A shark caught on drum lines off Perth last week. Picture: Water Inspired Juan Oliphant.
● to avoid entanglement with migrating whales, there will be no drum lines between May and October;
● dead or destroyed sharks, which are not protected under State or Federal law, used for re-baiting of drum lines;
● carcasses may be provided to WA shark researchers;
● minimum of 10 “observer trips” to ensure drum line contractors comply with requirements;
● an examination of great white shark numbers is due out in 2014 and;
Thousands protested against the shark-kill at a rally at Cottesloe Beach earlier this year.
● if Old Dunsborough beach enclosure trial is judged a success, more enclosures could be identified.
The report cities similar schemes in Brazil and South Africa where attempts are made to relocate dangerous sharks away from popular beaches.
The State Government’s application to the Environment Department said it was “unlikely such an approach would be appropriate for dealing with captured sharks in WA”.
“Transporting large sharks the significant distance necessary to get them away from WA coastal waters would be logistically impractical and could lead to the mortality of sharks in transit,” the document states.
“Moreover, from bather safety and public liability perspectives, determining acceptable release locations especially for potentially dangerous white sharks would be extremely challenging and would reduce the amount of time available for contractors to check
other hooks and release non-target sharks.”
Fisheries officers haul a hooked tiger shark onto its vessel before releasing it. Picture: Neil Henderson
WA Labor leader Mark McGowan said he hopes the Federal Government knocks back the bid to extend the shark cull.
“The policy has failed and there are far more effective things that can be done to keep swimmers safe,” he said.
The Greens’ Lynn MacLaren added: “I am appalled that the State Government are even pursuing this. The drum lines have been proven to be ineffective and unpopular.”
The shark-kill sees any bull, tiger or great white sharks bigger than three metres caught on baited drum lines shot dead and dumped further out at sea.
Between January 26 and March 16, 112 animals were caught on the hooks, including 105 tiger sharks.
Of these, 61 tiger sharks were released alive as they were under the target three-metre target size. However, the total mortality is likely to be higher “given the very large hook size”, the document said.
As of mid-March, bycatch included mako shark (two), dusky whaler (one), spinner shark (one) and northwest blowfish (one). In recent weeks, conservationists observing the drum lines off Perth have also photographed sting rays hooked by the lines.
It is not surprising, the report continues, that no great whites have been caught in the initial three-month trial as “it was predicted that few would be captured at this time of the year”.
It suggests the WA great white population was likely to be in the order of “at least a few to several thousand individuals”.
“Collectively, the drum line program will operate for a short period of time in each of just three years,” the referral document concludes.
“The footprint of the operation is extremely small compared to the distribution of the species most likely to be directly affected (white and tiger sharks) with relatively small numbers of individuals likely to be captured and even less killed compared to their total stock size.
“The program will therefore generate only negligible impacts on each of the affected species.”

GREAT WHITE TRACKED OFF METRO BEACHES
The referral comes as a “rapid response” was earlier today launched in an attempt to capture a four-metre great white off Perth.
Fisheries said extra drum lines had been set up and could remain in place for up to an hour.
A spokesman said the great white would be destroyed if caught.
Anti-cull activists followed the great white’s movements along the coast in a bid to usher it away from the drumlines.
Skipper Jodie Hayes said Fisheries had deployed drumlines at Scarborough, Floreat, City Beach, Swanbourne and Port Beach.
“We won’t interfere with Fisheries in any way, we just want to shepherd it out to sea and away from the drumlines,” she said.
Surf Life Saving WA said the shark was first seen 200m off Trigg Beach, before moving 400m off Scarborough Beach, prompting the City of Stirling to close both beaches.
Shortly after 12.30pm, Surf Lifesaving WA tweeted that those beaches had reopened and the shark had moved to Floreat Beach.
City Beach and Floreat beaches were closed, but have since been reopened.

March 29, 2014: 

Local man Michael McGregor went missing while diving with friends near Mandurah. His body was found a few days later with shark bites on it. It is not known whether the man was killed by a shark, or whether the bites occurred after the man's death.

March 11, 2014:

The Environmental Protection Authority decided not to assess the state government's shark drum line program as the authority said it was not expected to have a significant environmental impact.

March 5, 2014:

A Supreme Court judge ruled not to allow a full hearing into the WA drum line program.

February 12, 2014:

After the matter was referred to the Environmental Protection Authority, a one week public consultation period began.

The Greens moved a motion in the Senate calling for the Federal Environment Minister to revoke the exemption given to WA to allow the killing of great white sharks.

February 1, 2014:

About 6000 people converged on Cottesloe Beach for a second time to protest the state government's shark policy.

January 29, 2014: 

WA Premier Colin Barnett beefs up security after threats, including a vandalism attack on his office.

January 26, 2014:

The first shark was killed as part of the state government's shark kill zones policy.

January 25, 2014: 

West Australia's first drumlines were set as part of the shark kill zones policy in the South West by a commercial fisherman who won the contract to deploy and monitor them in that area.

January 20, 2014:

The successful contractor for shark kill zones policy in the metropolitan area pulled out because of death threats. Fisheries Minister Ken Baston announced that officers from the Fisheries Department would carry out the deployment and monitoring of drum lines in the metropolitan area. The minister said that a successful contractor was announced for the South West and would begin work soon. 

January 4, 2014

More than 4000 people gathered at Cottesloe Beach to protest the WA government's new policy, which involved the introduction of shark kill zones. Conservationists and some politicians labeled the policy as nothing more than a "shark cull".

December 10, 2013

The West Australian government announced a new policy which would see shark-killing zones established off beaches in Perth and the state's South West.

November 23, 2013:

Surfer Chris Boyd, 35, was killed by a shark in the waters off Gracetown in WA's South West. The fisheries department issued an imminent threat order for the shark, saying there was a threat of more attacks in the area.

October 9, 2013:

A catch-and-kill order issued the day prior for the shark responsible for the attack on Greg Pickering was cancelled after no shark was sighted or caught. 

October 8, 2013:

Diver Greg Pickering was attacked by a shark about 180 kilometres east of Esperance. Mr Pickering was bitten on the leg by a shark in 2004.

April 2, 2013:

There were fears a shark may have attacked 24-year-old Martin Tann who disappeared from Mullaloo Beach.

January 9, 2013:

The first catch-and-kill order for a shark was made after repeated sightings of a large great white shark along Dunsborough beaches. 

January 5, 2013:

A diver was bitten twice on the leg by a hammerhead shark 40 kilometres north of Dampier.

November 27, 2012:

The WA Fisheries Department publicly released guidelines as to the circumstances in which it would kill a shark it believed posed a risk to humans. 

August 28, 2012:

Jon Hines, a 34-year-old surfer, survived a shark attack at a popular surf spot at Red Bluff, near Quobba Station, on the WA coast.

July 14, 2012:

Passionate young surfer Ben Linden was killed by a great white shark off Wedge Island, near Lancelin, north of Perth.

June 20, 2012:

Surf ski paddler Martin Kane, in his 50s, was tipped out of his craft by a three-metre shark at Mullaloo beach in Perth's north.

March 31, 2012:

Peter Kurmann, 33, died after an attack while diving off Stratham Beach, between Busselton and Bunbury.

Oct 22, 2011:

George Thomas Wainwright, a 32-year-old man from the US, was killed after being bitten by a great white shark while diving off Rottnest Island.

October 10, 2011:

Bryn Martin, 64, was likely taken by a great white shark after he was last seen about 350 metres from the shore heading out to sea on his daily swim at Cottesloe Beach.

September 4, 2011:

Kyle James Burden, 21, was killed while on his body board at Bunker Bay, near Dunsborough.

October 30, 2010:

A tour guide working for a dolphin encounter company was bitten by a shark near Garden Island.

August 17, 2010:

Nick Edwards died after a shark attacked him while he was surfing near Gracetown.

December 27, 2008:

Fisherman Brian Guest was taken by a great white while snorkelling at Port Kennedy.

July 21, 2007:

A teenage boy was attacked by a shark while snorkelling off Cocos Keeling Islands, about 2750 kilometres north-west of Perth.

May 16, 2007:

A woman was bitten on her calf while carrying her baby in the shallows at Warra Beach, south of Coral Bay, on the north-coast of WA.

January 16, 2006:

A scuba diver was attacked by a shark off a Perth beach as the occupants of a nearby boat tried to warn him about the shark.

October 14, 2005:

A four-metre shark menaced a surfboat and forced swimmers from the water at one of Perth's most popular beaches.

September 24, 2005:

A surfer punched a one-metre shark in the head when it attacked him about 120 metres off Perth's Scarborough Beach.

March 19, 2005:

A luxury boat skipper snorkelling off the West Australian coast was bitten in half near the Abrolhos Islands.

July 11, 2004:

Larrikin surfer Brad Smith, 29, died in a shark attack while surfing a popular reef off Gracetown in WA's Margaret River region.

March 7, 2004:

Professional diver Greg Pickering was bitten on the leg by a shark after trying to help a friend who was being attacked by a 1.5 metre bronze whaler off Cervantes in WA's north.

January 25, 2004:

A diver's legs were mauled by a three-metre shark south of Perth.

January 28, 2002:

A man was mauled by a shark at a river south of Perth, suffering a 15 centimetre wound to his inner thigh, requiring 21 stitches.

February 26, 2001:

A huge great white shark attacked a Perth couple's fishing boat just 200 metres from a popular swimming beach on WA's south-coast.

November 6, 2000:

Businessman and father of three Ken Crew, 49, died after his leg was torn off by what fisheries officers believe was a four-metre great white shark.

 



Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/timeline-of-shark-attacks-on-wa-beaches-20081227-75sl.html#ixzz2yv210m6W

2:4Unlike Jaws, great white sharks in Australia probably haven't become man eaters, they are just following whales along a slightly different migration path.Here a great white successfully lunges for and captures a juvenile fur seal in False Bay, South Africa.After the attack on an American diver by a great white shark off the coast of Australia, the rumor mill is swilling with talk of a "rogue man-eating shark" that developed a taste for humans, killing three men over the last two months.The most recent attack happened on Saturday when a great white shark attacked and killed American diver George Thomas Wainwright. Two previous attacks on humans by great whites have occurred in the last two months, one killing an Australian swimmer on Oct. 10 and the other a body boarder who was lethally attacked on Sept. 4. 

Australian waters usually see about one fatal shark attack per year; but these waters are the primary home of the great white shark, a large species that can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters) long. Last year, 14 unprovoked shark attacks on humans were reported in Australia, only one of which was fatal.

Shark attacks went up last year — the highest amount of attacks seen worldwide in a decade, researchers say.
The spike in attacks is most likely due to the growth of the human population, coupled with the increasingly large amount of time people spend in the sea, which raises the odds of human-shark interactions.

Scientists investigated 115 alleged incidents of struggles between humans and sharks worldwide in 2010. They confirmed that 79 of these were unprovoked shark attacks on live humans.

Unprovoked attacks are ones that occurred with the predators in their natural habitats without human instigation. The other 36 incidents included 22 provoked attacks — such as assaults after divers grabbed sharks — including three cases of sharks biting boats, four incidents dismissed as non-shark attacks, five scavenging incidents of human corpses and two cases where there was not enough information to determine if an unprovoked shark attack had occurred.        

The Australian Senate: Prevent proactive killing of white sharks in Australia https://www.change.org/petitions/the-australian-senate-prevent-proactive-killing-of-white-sharks-in-australia-2

Save WA Sharks - Stop the Cull. http://www.marineconservation.org.au/petitions.php/9/save-wa-sharks-stop-the-cull

SAVE OUR SHARKS green peace https://www.greenpeace.org.au/action/?cid=60

                                                                                                                                         

Shark cull policy in Western Australia faces fresh challenge from Greens

Party brings in private member's bill to tackle an environmental exemption it dismisses as a 'cynical PR exercise'

Shark cull↑A tiger shark is caught in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. Photograph: Sea Shepherd/AAP
Oliver Milman
Sunday 23 March 2014 
A tiger shark is caught in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. Photograph: Sea Shepherd/AAPThe Greens have launched the latest attempt to stop the trapping and killing of sharks in Western Australia, putting forward a private member’s bill that would halt the cull program. The Senate bill would alter the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act so the government could not offer an exemption for the purposes of using drumlines to catch sharks.

Greg Hunt, the federal environment minister, allowed the WA government to kill sharks, including the protected great white, as part of its attempt to prevent attacks on swimmers and surfers.

Hunt exempted the action from assessment under provisions which allow the federal government to wave through activities that deal with matters of national security or emergencies.

The Greens said section 158 of the act should change so this could not happen in the future. The amendment would also be retrospective, meaning the WA drumlines would be removed while an environmental assessment is made.

Rachel Siewert, the Greens’ marine spokeswoman, told Guardian Australia Hunt’s exemption was “extraordinary” and should never have been made.

“This provision was meant for emergency situations, meaning a program with a significant impact on the marine environment wasn’t assessed,” she said.

“This shark cull was a cynical PR exercise that completely misread the sentiment of people in WA. There is overwhelming support in WA to end the cull because people see the nonsense of it.”

Siewert said it was a “no-brainer” for Labor to support the bill to put pressure on the government, given its criticism of Hunt for granting WA an environmental exemption.

But Louise Pratt, Labor’s senator for WA, told Guardian Australia the Greens bill was a “stunt”.

“We haven’t seen the legislation yet, so we can’t say one way or the other whether we’ll support it,” she said. “I would point out that it is bound to fail in any case because clearly there aren’t the numbers in the House of Representatives.

“Mark Butler, the shadow minister, has said he would’ve done things differently to Greg Hunt, who abused the EPBC act. So the only way we can protect sharks in the long term is to have a government with good environmental values. The Greens have limited value in providing this.”

The WA shark cull began in January, following seven shark attack deaths in the previous three years. More than 70 baited hooks, attached to drumlines, have been strung up 1km from popular Perth and south-west WA beaches.

If caught, great white, tiger and bull sharks more than three metres in length will be shot by contractors in patrol boats, while other sharks will be set free if still alive.

A court challenge to the cull, brought by Sea Shepherd, was recently thrown out, and the state’s Environmental Protection Authority declined to assess the program despite 23,000 submissions urging it to do so.

The WA government has said the cull is necessary to protect beachgoers but critics have said it is cruel and counter-productive because it draws sharks closer to the beach to eat the bait.

Ricky Gervais joins celebrities in opposing WA shark cull↓

Hollywood star among UK celebrities to back anti-shark kill Twitter campaign

↑Ricky Gervais appeared on Twitter with a sign denouncing the WA government's plans to catch and kill any shark 3m or over. Photograph: Twitter

Hollywood star Ricky Gervais has lent his considerable Twitter celebrity to the campaign against Western Australia's controversial shark kill policy.

Gervais, the creator of the smash-hit comedy The Office, appeared on social media holding up a sign decrying the WA government plans to catch and kill any shark 3m or over that comes within 1km of a Perth beach.

Gervais was one of several UK celebrities who gave their support to the campaign while appearing at the British National Television Awards overnight.

The Twitter initiative, under the hashtag #nosharkcull, was the brainchild of TV producer Gemma Care, who also pictured Olympic diver Tom Daley, Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, comedians Alan Carr and Keith Lemon, and reality TV personality Mark Wright with the sign.

It read: "To the government of Western Australia – Listen to Facts, Listen to Science, Listen to Reason – Stop the Shark Cull."

Care said she had received "hugely appreciated celeb support for #NoSharkCull Campaign!"

The latest celebrity backing for the backlash against the shark kill policy follows contributions from Sir Richard Branson, who tweeted that the policy "should be condemned around the world".

Drumlines are set to appear off the south-west coast this week, after federal environment minister Greg Hunt granted WA an exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, allowing the protected great white shark to be killed.

Plans to set drumlines off Perth beaches have been delayed, after potential professional contractors pulled out because of alleged threats from environmental activists.

A rally against the shark policy is planned for around Australia on 1 February.

On 4 January, thousands of people attended a rally at Cottesloe beach – the electorate and home suburb of Liberal premier Colin Barnett.


Shark catch and kill to begin in Western Australian waters

Fisherman to start laying drumlines in state’s south-west, as threats from activists delay installation at Perth beaches Janualy 24 2014

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/24/shark-catch-and-kill-to-begin-in-western-australian-waters

There have been seven fatal shark attacks in Western Australian waters since 2010. Photograph: Rebecca Le May/AAP Image

The drumlines designed to catch and kill large sharks off the West Australian coastline – which have caused much anger among anti-culling activists – are set to appear in the water this weekend.

The private contractor charged with laying and monitoring the drumlines in the south-west of the state is believed to have been told to get started in time for the Australia Day long weekend.

The Fremantle-based fisherman, who has appeared in the media but has not been identified, will lay the lines at beaches at Old Dunsborough, Meelup and Castle Rock, before moving on to Gracetown – the site of the fatal attack late last year that prompted the WA government's controversial policy.

Old Dunsborough beach is where a 300m-long shark barrier is being trialled, 100m from the shore, just in time for the public holiday.

The drumlines will appear off the south-west first, after the federal environment minister, Greg Hunt, granted WA an exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, allowing the protected great white shark to be killed.

But plans to set drumlines off Perth beaches have been delayed, after potential professional contractors pulled out because of alleged threats from environmental activists.

Government fisheries officers will now be ordered to perform that duty, beginning within weeks, according to the state government.

Protesters, however, are determined to disrupt those efforts, with a national rally planned for 1 February.

Even Hollywood star Ricky Gervais, the creator of the smash-hit comedy The Office, has appeared on social media holding up a sign decrying the WA government.

Gervais later said on Twitter: "Animals don't have a voice. But I do. A loud one. I'm a fucking big mouth. My voice is for them. And I'll never shut up while they suffer."

The death of Chris Boyd at Gracetown was the seventh in WA waters since August 2010 and came only a month after abalone diver Greg Pickering was mauled.

In seeking the exemption, the state government said the spike in attacks had dented tourism and leisure-based businesses, with recreational diving operators reporting a greater than 90% decrease in people learning to dive.

But the plan has incensed conservationists, with the Humane Society labelling it "a complete disgrace", while thousands of protesters recently rallied against it on a Cottesloe beach frequented by the state's Liberal premier.

Hunt confirmed that after this summer trial, which ends on 30 April, there would have to be a full federal environment act assessment if the policy was to continue.


Western Australia's shark cull faces legal challenge from conservationists

Opponents claim the plan to bait and kill sharks could breach state and federal laws, as well as international agreements

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/western-australias-shark-cull-faces-legal-challenge-from-conservationists

Monday 20 January 2014 

↑A great white shark inspects divers filming from cage. The species is protected under WA and federal legislation. Photograph: Alamy

The Greens and animal welfare groups are formulating a legal challenge to the Western Australian government’s shark cull, claiming the move would fall foul of state, federal and international obligations.

Lawyers for a loose-knit coalition of groups, including the Greens, the Conservation Council and Western Australians for Shark Conservation, are looking at whether the plan to trap and kill large sharks is legally possible.

At a state level, the cull policy could run contrary to the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1950, as well as the Fish Resource Management Act of 1994.

Federally, the environment minister, Greg Hunt, has to exempt WA from the strictures of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act for the cull to proceed. The act requires a federal assessment to be made when endangered creatures – such as great white sharks – are placed at risk.

A federal department of environment spokesman said: “The Western Australian government has not referred the project, however an exemption has been requested. The minister’s decision will be announced in due course.”

The WA government’s plan will involve the stringing out of 72 drum lines with baited hooks, 1km out to sea from eight of the Perth area’s most popular beaches.

The plan, devised after seven fatal shark attacks in WA waters in the past three years, will see sharks over 3m in length shot by roving patrol boats if they don’t die on the hooks.

While the state government claims the plan will help prevent more people dying from shark attacks, opponents have called it cruel and unscientific, pointing out it may even increase interactions between sharks and humans in the water.

Lynn MacLaren, Greens member of WA’s upper house, told Guardian Australia that the party, along with other groups, was “preparing a case” to challenge the shark cull.

“It looks like this is has contravened international treaties to protect migratory species, as well as the EPBC Act and state laws,” she said.

“We hope the government will realise its mistake, but if it doesn’t we will be looking to get public support for the legal case, if we don’t get pro-bono help.”

MacLaren said a delay in the deployment of the drum lines showed the government was thinking twice about its plan.

“I believe in the cold light of day they are seeing the many problems introduced by trying to force through an ill-thought-through policy,” she said. “It’s not easy to contravene federal and state laws. They seem to have ignored scientific advice on this.

“Australians love their coast and public opinion is strongly against these proposals. It’s obviously upsetting when there’s a death, but shark bites are rare occurrences. We’ve had a cluster recently but there’s no sign this extreme action needs to be taken.”

The WA government has been contacted for comment on the potential legal challenge.


◆Western Australia Department Fisheries 

Mail: Department of the Premier and Cabinet, 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
EMail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au
Phone number: 6552 5000
http://www.premier.wa.gov.au/MINISTERS/Pages/Default.aspx

Honorable Colin Barnett MEc MLA
Premier; Minister for State Development; Science

Address:
 1 Parliament Place, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: (08) 6552-5000
e-Mailwa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au

Honorable Troy Buswell BEc MLA

Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Fisheries

Shark cull: Greg Hunt exempts WA from laws protecting species at risk

Environment minister clears way for trapping and killing of the sharks with baited hooks, saying it's in the national interest

 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/21/shark-cull-greg-hunt-exempts-wa

↑A great white shark. Photograph: ScreenWest/AAP


Greg Hunt, the environment minister, has helped clear the way for a controversial shark cull in Western Australia by exempting it from federal legislation designed to protect threatened species.

Hunt has agreed to the WA government’s request to have the cull exempt from assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, citing a “national interest” in allowing the trapping and killing of the sharks.

The WA government plans to string 72 baited hooks 1km from the shoreline of eight popular beaches around Perth and the south-west. Boat patrols will shoot any sharks measuring over 3m caught by the hooks.

Hunt’s approval, which was dated 9 January but only made public now, points to “substantial public concern” about the safety of water-based activities in Western Australia, after an increasing trend of shark attacks since 1995.


The exemption states that WA’s $8.5bn tourism industry could be hit by continual shark attacks and that the cull should be allowed subject to conditions aimed at reducing harm to seabirds and whales.

In a letter to the WA premier, Colin Barnett, Hunt said Australians understood the risk to swimming, surfing and boating in the open sea and that government “cannot take away that risk at the general level.”

Despite this, Hunt said a series of shark attacks – there have been seven fatalities in WA waters in the past three years – were “well above the historic norm” and that exemption from the conservation act was appropriate.

Hunt said that other marine species or sharks measuring under 3m should be released from the hooks alive, unless they were too badly injured, and that the exemption would only run until 30 April.

“One does not have to agree with a policy to accept that a national interest exemption is warranted to protect against imminent threat to life, economic damage and public safety more generally,” Hunt wrote.

The act requires that the federal government assess any action deemed to threaten an at-risk species in Australia. The great white shark is listed as a vulnerable, migratory species, while the grey nurse shark is considered threatened.

The act states the environment minister can exempt such an action from assessment in the national interest, which includes Australia’s defence or security or a “national emergency”. However, the minister is not limited to these definitions.

Hunt’s approval clears one obstacle from the path of the WA government, which is facing legal action from a coalition of conservation groups that claims the cull is contrary to state, federal and international obligations.

The Barnett government has announced it will be carrying out the cull itself, after claiming that the business that won a tender for the work backed out of the project following death threats. Opponents of the cull claim it is pointless and barbaric.

Humane Society International said Hunt’s decision to exempt the cull from assessment was a “complete disgrace.”

Alexia Wellbelove, senior program manager at the conservation group, said: “The proposed policy and consideration by the federal environment minister lacks any real scientific approach, and fails to sufficiently consider the wider marine implications of the program.

“This exemption demonstrates the complete failure of the federal government to protect our most precious species and fulfill our international environmental obligations, for the price of a policy which we do not believe will have the desired impact of reducing risk for people, which is its stated purpose.

“HSI reiterates its calls on both Premier Barnett and Minister Hunt to end this farce of a program and instead invest in research to help better educate the public on how to reduce the risk of shark bites.”

Mark Butler, Labor's environment spokesman, said the opposition did not support Hunt's decision as it wasn't "evidence-based".

 "Minister Greg Hunt has given the WA premier free rein to proceed with his plans by relying on an exemption provision within the federal environment laws directed at 'Australia’s defence or security or a national emergency'," he said.

 "Mr Hunt’s decision contains no evidence about how this issue qualifies as a ‘national emergency’ or about the wisdom of Premier Barnett’s plan compared to traditional shark management practices. 

"A proper environmental assessment would have required the WA premier to demonstrate how his plan would actually reduce fatal shark attacks while also protecting other marine life that will undoubtedly be at the risk of death or injury from baited hooks in the water."

Greens senator Rachel Siewart said: “The minister has basically approved the indiscriminate killing of great white sharks. If this is the Abbott government’s benchmark for protection of nationally protected species woe betide Australia."


Western Australians for Shark Conservation

http://www.wascgroup.com

In a scenario that partially mimics the plot of Steven Spielberg's 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws, officials in Western Australia today announced a controversial plan to use professional hunters to kill any shark longer than 10 feet that swims too close to popular beaches.

The plan is a direct response to six fatal shark attacks—including one just last month—that occurred off the country’s southern and western coasts in the last two years.

“Baited hooks will also be placed along the coast to catch sharks, with a larger strike team ready to scramble into action in the event of an attack,” reports The Australian.

Calling it a “culling” that will not necessarily reduce the likelihood of attacks on surfers and swimmers, marine mammal conservationists vehemently oppose the move.

"This new cull policy amounts to indiscriminate fishing and will not only cull potentially risky sharks, but we can expect to see dolphins, turtles, seals, nurse sharks, and a range of other marine life killed off our beaches,” said conservationist Piers Verstegen.

The government disagrees, insisting that public safety must come first.

"It is not a fear-driven hunt; it is a targeted, localized shark mitigation strategy," said local official Troy Buswell.

The announcement comes roughly one week after a video was posted to YouTube of three Western Australian fishermen frantically working to save an 800-pound, 12-foot-long tiger shark they had accidentally caught and reeled in to shore.

As the five-minute video begins, a group of onlookers is seen surrounding the shark as it writhes on a beach. From there, the situation worsens quickly, so much so that one brave fisherman throws caution to the wind and climbs atop the predator (think man straddling a horse). It is a desperate attempt to gain leverage to remove the hook from the predator’s jaws—and it mercifully works. Soon after, the shark rights itself and swims into the surf as gawking beachgoers cheer.

By Takqepert  http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/12/10/ready-set-kill-australia-oks-shark-hunting


Common Names: Great White Shark, White Shark, White Pointer
Scientific Name: Carcharodon carcharias
Size: Av. 4-5m. Max size 6.5m
Found: Worldwide along continental margins of temperate and some tropical seas.
Population Status:  Vulnerable to Extinction (IUCN 2007)
Tooth ShapeGreat White teeth are triangular in shape with serrated edges for tearing. 
Their main food sources are seals, marine mammals and sometimes larger fish species.
Reproduction:
Ovoviviparous
Egg sacs develop and hatch inside the mother, young are 
then born live. Females can give birth to 7-9 pups measuring 
around 1.5m at birth.
It is thought that Great White Sharks only give birth 4-6 times 
during their life. Juveniles can take 10-12 years to reach maturity.

Interesting Facts:
Great White Sharks can reach speeds of up to 25mph and can weigh up to 3 tonne.
Great Whites can have around 3000 teeth at any one time.
After a large meal, a Great White can go without food for up to 2 months.

2010 Australia shark attack-Surfer survives shark attack 
Unlike Jaws, great white sharks in Australia probably haven't become man eaters, they are just following whales along a slightly different migration path.Here a great white successfully lunges for and captures a juvenile fur seal in False Bay, South Africa. 

Man vs. Shark: Australia's battle for the deep

Australian surfer Glen Folkard displays the bite mark in his damaged surf board at his home in Newcastle on February 23, 2012 after he was attacked by a shark.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-03-shark-australia-deep.html#jCp
Australian surfer Glen Folkard (R), shows off the shark bite wound in his leg and his damaged surfboard at his home in Newcastle on February 23, 2012.
http://phys.org/news/2012-03-shark-australia-deep.html


Australia to Launch Great White Shark Hunt

Cull of Protected Animal Approved After Fatal Attacks in Recent Years

Cowaramup Bay, close to Lefthanders Beach in Western Australia, where a surfer was killed in a shark attack on Nov. 23. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

CANBERRA—Shark hunters in Western Australia are set within days to begin a cull of the protected Great White in response to several fatal attacks over the past three years.

The cull was approved Tuesday by the federal government in Canberra, which granted the state an exemption from laws safeguarding the animals.

Western Australia's state premier, Colin Barnett, has drawn protests and condemnation from marine-wildlife experts and campaigners with a plan to bait and kill sharks more than three meters long, after a surfer was killed by a Great White in November at Gracetown, south of Perth.

The seventh fatal attack in three years led Mr. Bartlett last year to unveil the plan to string 72 baited hooks offshore from popular beaches, in a bid to reverse Western Australia's reputation as the world's most dangerous place to venture into the ocean. Once caught, sharks would be shot by professional hunters.

Conservation groups say Great Whites, which are listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, have been in sharp decline since the 1960s and now account for just 0.6% of game fish and sharks caught on lines or in meshes.

Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who oversees conservation laws, including a 1999 listing of Great Whites as a vulnerable species, decided the cull would be in the "national interest," despite his own concerns about the impact on shark numbers.

"One does not have to agree with a policy to accept that a national interest exemption is warranted to protect against imminent threat to life, economic damage and public safety," Mr. Hunt wrote in a letter giving the green light for the cull.

The last attack occurred on Nov. 23, close to where British chef Heston Blumenthal had been swimming the day before during a break from hosting a food festival in the Margaret River vineyard region. Aerial patrols of beaches were stepped up before the government decided on more drastic measures to protect the state's 7.8 billion-Australian dollar ($6.9 billion) tourism industry.

"It's in people's minds. People are probably thinking twice before they go out in the water," Pip Close, chief executive of Margaret River Tourism, told The Wall Street Journal.

Despite their fearsome reputation—sealed in the 1975 cinema thriller "Jaws"--little is known about Great Whites, largely due to their rarity and solitary habits. Females can grow to five meters, larger than males, and surveys have tracked their movement from Australia to as far as South Africa's beaches.

While they are also found off the U.S., South American and other coastlines, the number caught in Australia each year by commercial and amateur fishermen has fallen to around 100 after the government listed the sharks as vulnerable in 1999.

Conservationists like Shaun Collin and Ryan Kempster, from the Ocean's Institute in Western Australia, say there is little proof the cull would increase beach safety. They have blamed increasing shark attacks on a corresponding rise in the number of migrating whales along Australia's coast, which draws in marine scavengers.

Lynn MacLaren, a Greens lawmaker in Western Australia, told the Guardian Australia newspaper she would look into a legal challenge to the cull, which was originally due to begin on Jan. 10 but has been delayed by problems with tendering for shark hunters and public opposition to the move.