HSI condemns the death of an endangered species at the hands of WA government
Humane Society International (HSI) has today expressed regret at the WA Government’s decision to catch and kill an endangered white shark at Falcon beach earlier this week. Drumlines are an unnecessary and lethal option for shark management and there has been extensive research showing that killing sharks does not reduce the risk of shark bite.
“We have asked the Federal Government to assess and put an end to Western Australia’s imminent threat policy for sharks, and the actions of the WA Government this week show now more than ever how necessary this is,” HSI’s Marine Scientist Jessica Morris said today. “As the conservation NGO responsible for the legal protection of a number of threatened shark species in Australia, HSI has long had major concerns with the use of shark nets and drumlines for bather protection. Earlier this year, scientists at Deakin University confirmed that shark control programs are providing nothing more than peace of mind, at the expense of our marine environment.” *
“The study at Deakin University was not the first to show nets and drumlines offer no real defence against a shark interaction; Hawaii gave up their drumline program due to this fact. And in 2014 by 305 scientists from around the world who wrote to WA Premier Barnett in July, 2014 in relation to the deployment of drum lines. People understand that there are sharks in the ocean, and they knowingly take a risk to enter the water. The majority of people, including those that have been personally affected by shark bite, have said they do not want sharks killed as a result.”
“The fact that these drumlines were put in the water more than 18 hours after the incident occurred makes it unlikely the shark killed would have been the shark responsible for the attack. White sharks can travel more than 100km’s in a day. All we have achieved is the death of another endangered species, one that is incredibly vital for the functioning of our marine ecosystems.”
Ms Morris concluded, “HSI is continuing to look at the legal options available to us to put an end to shark control programs in all Australian states which use them, and we warn the WA Government against the use of drumlines in the future. Rather there should be a focus on non-lethal technology such as eco-barriers and aerial surveillance. These options have little or no ecological footprint and are a much more effective way of managing risk for surfers and other ocean-users than killing sharks. ”
* ABC 4 Corners highlighted the work of Associate Professor Laurie Laurenson from Deakin University in February 2016