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article imageProtesters to hit Western Australian beaches over shark cull Special

By Elizabeth Batt     Jan 2, 2014 in Environment
The Entrance - A state government plan to set 72 drum lines to ensnare sharks is drawing the ire of Australian activists. Captured sharks longer than 3 meters in length will be shot and dumped back into the ocean.
The shark culling is Western Australia's response to the killing of seven people by sharks since 2010. But the indiscriminate method has shark conservationists up in arms over what they are describing as a "knee-jerk" solution by the WA government.
According to WAtoday, thousands of surfers, divers and other beach-going activists, are planning to attend a massive protest at various beaches on the western coast Saturday.
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett is defending the plan, adding that it would provide greater protection to beach goers. Barnett told The Sydney Morning Herald:
I realised that many people object to the catching of sharks, the government has taken this measure after long consideration, it wasn't a knee-jerk reaction. We've been looking at this for some time.
But Cathy Gilmore disagrees. "We want to create awareness and let our Government know that culling is not the answer," she said. Gilmore, who is hosting The Entrance Beach Rally in New South Wales on Saturday also said that by using baited drums, the government's actions could increase shark visits to the area.
As reported by SBS.com.au, Christopher Neff, an American PhD student at the University of Sydney said that without the use of nets, "I'm befuddled by the rationale of how baiting sharks towards the beaches is meant to reduce the risk of a shark attack." And Lisa Chalk with Animals Australia added that it was "common sense" that baiting would only attract more sharks.
Gilmore told Digital Journal:
Drum lines are baited hooks affixed to a chain with a drum float attached/secured to the ocean floor. Several of these will be placed 1km out to sea off popular swimming and surfing beaches. They will be monitored for 12 hours throughout the day and re-baited at night by commissioned professional shark hunters.
Research by the Australian Government's Environmental Department shows that when used alone, "drum lines catch target shark species, but catch lower numbers of non-target marine species than mesh nets. However, large numbers of marine turtles are still caught on drum lines."
Furthermore the research states that the list of species captured in Queensland's Shark Control Program compiled using catch data between 1992-2003, shows far more species of shark captured that are not of the target species. This included endangered species such as the whale shark.
Advocates are also arguing that target species include at risk sharks such as the Great White Shark which the Environmental Dept. reports as "vulnerable and migratory under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999." Ironically, "the main threats faced by white sharks in Australian waters" adds the department, "are from interactions with commercial and recreational fisheries and shark control programs."
Gilmore believes there are better methods of shark control. She told told DJ that methods "like tagging large sharks and monitoring their movements," is an option worthy of consideration.
Cottesloe Beach will host the largest rally of several in support of sharks.
Cottesloe Beach will host the largest rally of several in support of sharks.
Michael_Spencer
"Judging by this new imminent threat policy," Gilmore said, "what is the WA government going to be calling for the cull of next, given that dogs kill on average six times more people than sharks. Does that mean any dog found to be within certain radius of a human can be posted as imminent threat?" she asked. "This is a ridiculous policy based on a knee-jerk reaction and no scientific basis whatsoever."
Gilmore's event will be one of several planned rallies being hosted around Australia, all being co-hosted simultaneously. "WA Cottesloe Beach is the main one," Gilmore explained, "with over 7284 people planning to attend," she added. Guest speakers include Jools Farrell, a coordinator with the Sydney Sea Shepherd Chapter and former ship medic aboard the Sam Simon. Speaking at Cottesloe WA, is Sea Shepherd Australia's, Jeff Hanson.
As if to thumb a nose at the Australian government's shark fears campaign, Gilmore said that folks will be hitting the water. "Surfers, kayakers, scuba divers, boating enthusiasts, swimmers, snorkelers, everybody who loves our oceans," she said, will be "standing as one to support the people in WA to fight this senseless cull."
Further information on Gilmore's event at The Entrance, Hutton Road, Sydney, is available on her Facebook event page.
Full locations for all rallies are listed in the graphic below which appears courtesy of No Great White cull in WA.
A list of venues and times for protesting the culling and baiting of sharks planned by the WA govern...
A list of venues and times for protesting the culling and baiting of sharks planned by the WA government.
No Great White Cull in WA
"We want to create awareness," concluded the founder of Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast, "and let our Government know that culling is not the answer!"
More about shark cull western australia, australia's shark cull, Cottesloe Beach, Western australia, drum lines
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