While the shark cull continues in Western Australia, sharks and other fish are also victims of drum lines (traps with baited hooks that kill sharks and other marine life indiscriminately). Neither the “culling” of sharks nor the presence of drum lines is likely to prevent future attacks by great white sharks in Western Australia, but only weaken an already stressed eco-system by removing its apex predators and other marine life. Please take just a few minutes and send an e-mail to the Australian government to ask them not to extend the use of drum lines! After the e-mail information, you can also check out the list of suggested resources to include in your letter. (Thanks Melissa Michaelson for posting this on FB).
HOW TO SEND AN E-MAIL:
Urgent Time Sensitive Message from #noWAsharkcull
In March, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) chose NOT to assess WA’s drum line policy because they deemed it to be of ‘very limited duration’ and so they said that it ‘will not have a significant impact on the environment’. This was when the policy was due to end on April 30th 2014, which has now changed with the Government asking for approval until 2017.
We only have 5 days to take action. You can help Stop The Cull by spending just 2 minutes of your time to submit a comment to the EPBC opposing the policy:
1. Email your comments opposing the WA drum lines to – firstname.lastname@example.org (Before Thu 17 April).
2. In the subject bar include the following “Comment on WA drum line referral – reference no. 2014/7174”
3. In the email include the full title and reference no, which are as follows:
Title: WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet/Natural resources management/off metropolitan & SW coastal regions of Western Australia/WA/Shark Hazard Mitigation Drum Line Program
Reference no: 2014/7174
4. Suggested comments and links to relevant information are listed below.
6. Now SHARE, SHARE, SHARE – we only have until Thursday 17th April to get as many people to comment as possible.
SUGGESTED COMMENTS/LINKS TO INFO. TO ADD TO YOUR SUBMISSION:
1. WHITE SHARKS ARE PROTECTED under WA and Australian environmental laws and several international agreements including CITES and CMS.
2. WHITE SHARKS ARE APEX PREDATORS, their roles are vital to keep the health of the ocean in balance. Removing a migratory apex predator from our marine ecosystem is likely to have significant impacts on the species composition and abundance of other marine life.
3. WHITE SHARKS ARE NOT PRESENT IN WA WHEN DRUM LINES ARE OPERATIONAL.
White sharks are the main target of the policy yet their population’s peak during June-August each year in WA, which is outside the proposed drum line operational period of November to April (see page 13 of DoF report –http://goo.gl/FbLBXm).
4. DRUM LINES ARE INDISCRIMINATE and will catch and kill other species including dolphins, turtles and non-target sharks. Almost all of the sharks caught so far have been non-target, undersized, tiger sharks.
Yet, the WA Government claimed that the drum lines would only catch large sharks (>3m). Non target sharks are being released at the place of capture and will likely be caught again if they do not die from their injuries.
5. THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that killing sharks will reduce shark bite incidents. When shark culling was carried out in Hawaii, between 1959 to 1976, over 4,500 sharks were killed and yet there was no significant decrease in the number of shark bites recorded –http://goo.gl/DCIEVw
6. THERE ARE NON-LETHAL ALTERNATIVES that are proven to be effective at reducing shark bite incidents. A new approach to shark control recently trialled in Recife, Brazil, involves capturing, transporting and releasing large sharks offshore, whilst providing an opportunity to tag and monitor the individuals caught. This approach has been extremely effective in reducing the incidence of shark bites in protected areas but without the indiscriminate killing of sharks and other marine lifehttp://goo.gl/e38Biy
7. THE CURRENT POLICY GOES SIGNIFICANTLY BEYOND ANY OTHER employed in other areas of the world. For example, whilst drum lines and gill nets are used on the east coast of Australia, there is no additional targeted fishing of large sharks in these areas. In addition, a WA Government funded report, by Darryl McPhee of Bond University, into shark control measures found that “due to the environmental impacts of shark control activities, it is not recommended that either shark nets or drum-lines be introduced into Western Australia”.
8. SHARK MITIGATION PROGRAMS SHOULD BE COORDINATED BY GOVERNMENT
FISHERIES DEPARTMENTS rather than independent contractors, ensuring a higher level of transparency and accountability as well as a greater opportunity for gathering scientific data on shark abundance and species composition.
9. SHARK EXPERTS OPPOSE THE WA DRUM LINE POLICY –http://goo.gl/evaEbi
10. OPEN LETTER FROM SCIENTISTS TO WA GOVERNMENT –http://goo.gl/U5xo9r
11. QUEENSLAND’S DRUM LINES – http://goo.gl/a02TXR
** Special thanks to Dr Ryan Kempster from Save our Sharks for his suggested response.