News / Asia

    Australians Protest Shark Culls

    People hold placards during a protest against Western Australia's state government's shark killing policy on Manly beach in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 1, 2014.
    People hold placards during a protest against Western Australia's state government's shark killing policy on Manly beach in Sydney, Australia, Feb. 1, 2014.
    Phil Mercer
    Thousands of people have attended rallies to protest the killing of sharks in Western Australia. The state government has ordered the cull of sharks over 3 meters near popular beaches following a series of fatal attacks.  Ministers say the action will save lives, although campaigners say the cull is unnecessary and inhumane. 
     
    In Western Australia, the authorities have set baited hooks off popular beaches in response to seven fatal shark attacks in three years.
     
    But demonstrators at more than a dozen rallies across the country argue that a cull is not the solution, and will only harm the sea's delicate ecological balance.  They also insist that the measures will not make beaches around Western Australia’s state capital, Perth, any safer for swimmers and surfers.
     
    Protester John Lee said hunting sharks would cause irreparable damage to the environment.
     
    “Don't need to kill them. I mean, that's their home, you know. There won't be anything left in the ocean, you know. Go from sharks, to whales, to whatever, eventually it will just be water. There won't be anything you know living,” he said.
     
    Any Great White, Tiger or Bull shark more than three meters long caught by the hooks will be shot.  Smaller specimens will be released. The policy was announced after the death of a surfer in Western Australia in November.
     
    Federal authorities have granted Western Australia special permission to kill endangered shark species, including the Great White.  
     
    The state’s deputy leader, Kim Hames, said ministers would not bow to public pressure to stop the cull.
     
    “We believe the government is doing the right thing. We've had seven people that have lost their lives in our water in the last three years compared to over the last 20 years, so the numbers have significantly increased in the last three years,” said Hames.
     
    A recent poll indicated that more than 80 percent of Australians believed sharks should not be killed and that people swim and surf in the ocean at their own risk.
     
    Opponents of the cull are taking legal action to stop it.  Authorities in Western Australia say the measures are temporary and will likely be brought to an end in April when fewer swimmers take to the water.

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    Comments
         
    by: Mat from: London
    February 02, 2014 11:48 AM
    I really can't believe 80% of the population would rather save a great white shark over a human being?!! How absurd minded is that?!! I was actually in Cottesloe beach a number of years ago (I didn't dare to swim, as I didn't feel comfortable), esp after a man died there a few weeks before from losing both of his legs to a shark attack!! That's TWO reasons not to go to back to OZ now!
    In Response

    by: Goutami from: Melbourne
    February 07, 2014 1:45 AM
    80% of people would rather save the world's oceans, ecosystems and natural wildlife than help wipe out species that are already endangered and should be protected in craven attacks stemming from fear and ignorance.
    I suggest you start sleeping on the floor if you're so concerned about a human life, because more people die falling out of bed in a year than from shark attacks.
    In Response

    by: JW from: Australia
    February 03, 2014 10:05 AM
    This is not a matter of choosing a shark's life over a human life - there is no guarantee that the sharks being culled are the ones doing the attacking and it's not going to do anything for the people who have already been attacked. If you DO return to Australia, please leave your ignorance and fear mongering behind - Australia, especially WA, definitely doesn't need any more of that. These attacks generally occur to surfers swimming far offshore and people are fully aware of the risks - and many surfers who have been attacked are also against the cull. Killing random endangered sharks isn't going to make it any safer to swim in shark territory and has terrible consequences for the ocean's ecosystem.

    by: Ken Yates from: Bunbury
    February 01, 2014 8:19 PM
    Its sad that one of the paragraphs states a poll indicates 80 perent of the population is against the shark cull. Less than one percent of the Western Australian population showed there displeasure about shark reduction at Cottesloe. Who was polled?. Ken
    In Response

    by: Ken Yates from: Bunbury
    February 03, 2014 7:41 PM
    The people in favour of the shark reduction dont need to protest. Its allready happening. Its the tiny minority against it that have to show the numbers. As i said. Less that one percent of the population
    In Response

    by: JW from: Australia
    February 03, 2014 10:12 AM
    The latest news reports from Australia don't seem to back up your claim that less than one percent of the WA population showed displeasure at the shark cull. There were approximately six thousand protesters against the shark cull at Cottesloe Beach on Saturday (including Liberal supporters), and only a handful for it, according to 7 news.

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