Well, this is an interesting way to start the New Year that probably few expected from Scission.
We are going down under (although what we will be learning about happens elsewhere as well) where in Western Australia they, the government, has decided to "protect" people by killing sharks. That's what we do isn't it? Kill other species because, well, they are in the way of our play.
Great white sharks are up near the very top of the food chain. They will prey on fish, mammals or birds, but nothing preys on them...well, except, us, of course.
Where this is all leading to is the fact that Western Australia has pretty much decided that what it wants to do is "cull" or mass murder these amazing creatures because they are in the way and they just don't respect humans like they should.
“The preservation of human life is our number one priority,” said Troy Buswell, the Western Australia's fisheries minister, in announcing new policies that will see white sharks killed if they venture within a kilometer of popular beaches. Any great white, tiger or bull shark more than 3 meters in length caught by the lines will be shot and thrown out to sea.
The STATE'S answer is to many questions is far too often, "kill the MFs..."
West Australians for Shark Conservation president Ross Weir said the new measures were criminal.
"This policy violates 14 different United Nations laws conventions and treaties, as well as the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. We will not tolerate the culling of sharks..."
From Ecology Blog:
“The decision by Western Australia officials to cull sharks off the coast is alarming,” said Ashley Blacow, a policy and communications official with nonprofit Oceana. “Sharks play a critical role in keeping ocean ecosystems healthy. The presence of sharks ultimately increases species stability and diversity of the overall ecosystem. White sharks in particular are a vulnerable species and they should be protected, not killed.”
One of Western Australia’s most controversial approaches to culling sharks will see floating drums placed around beaches, attached to baited hooks. The trapping equipment are known as “drum lines” — and conservationists regard them as appallingly cruel. Drum lines are illegal in many parts of the world, including in the U.S. One shark expert described the killing method as “archaic” in an interview with Nature.
“Drum lines are 55-gallon steel drums with heavy tackle-like chains or large lines connected to bait,” David McGuire, director of Shark Stewards, told us. “They’re usually anchored to the bottom or they can be linked in chains. I’ve seen them used illegally in Mexico to catch sharks. Essentially, the shark bites the bait, is hooked, and drowns.”
Blacow isn't the only one alarmed with the plans. Thousands plan to protest. Hundred's of scientists and fisherpeople, ecologists, and others have all voiced a loud opposition...so far to no avail.
“My immediate reaction is disgust," says George Burgess, a noted shark researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. “This is an archaic response to this kind of a problem, and one most scientists thought had seen its day decades ago.”
Scientific American, a noted communist front mag writes:
Scientific objections to such a program of culling sharks center on the fact that in order to reduce attacks, a substantial number of animals will have to be removed, which will have a serious impact on the survival of already threatened species in the region. “If they take enough sharks out of the water, sure it’s going to reduce shark attacks,” says Burgess (see above). “If you get all of them out of the water you’ll never have a shark attack again.”
Three species of shark are responsible for most attacks on humans: the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), which is rated as a species vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), which is rated as near-threatened, and the bull shark (Carcharhinus leucas), which is also rated as near-threatened.
A report prepared for the government of Western Australia last year by Daryl McPhee, a fisheries researcher at Bond University in Gold Coast, Australia, warned that control programs would have “potential implications for the populations of any currently threatened marine species” and could also pose a risk to dolphins. It concluded 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.”
Did I mention that there is no scientific evidence that such culling actually protects humans anyway? For example, Hawaii culled nearly 5,000 sharks between 1959 to 1976, yet there was no change in the rate at which sharks attacked humans in those same waters.
The Department of Primary Industries has confirmed it is working with ''university experts'' to explore the use of drones. The research will determine the best types of vehicles and sensor cameras. A spokeswoman would not name the university involved, saying the project was commercially sensitive.
Its top secret. Still, Surf Life Saving Australia has been conducting a drone trial at North Stradbroke Island, that be Australia At least, no one has suggested the drones to target hellfire missiles at the sharks. That's good. We should be happy about that. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it.
By the way, it isn't like sharks are turning us into an endangered species. The total number of shark attacks is extremely low. One 2011 study found an average of 1.1 fatalities per year in Australia over the past 20 years.
Again, from that Burgess fellow, you know the noted shark researcher,
We need to consider that we’re visitors to that marine environment,. The question it comes down to is more of a moral choice: are we willing to alter the natural system to the point of breakage, at least in terms of particular species, for the safety of a human who is invading that foreign world?
The problem is that in almost all such situations, our species answers, "YES."
But not everyone.
Thousands are expected to attend a protest this weekend against the culling policy in Western Australia. Conservation groups and opposition politicians will speak at the protest, which starts near the Indiana Teahouse at Cottesloe Beach at 10am on Saturday. Simultaneous demonstrations are being planned at beaches on the eastern states, as well as at Broome's Cable Beach.
Event organizer Natalie Banks said there was no scientific research to back up the cull, which she called a "knee jerk" reaction to the general public's fear of shark attacks. "While the organizers of the rally acknowledge that the loss of human lives due to a shark attack is tragic, there is still much more research required to understand whether there is an increase in shark presence and if so, what the contributing factors are. "More needs to be done to develop sustainable shark attack mitigation strategies, including tagging and tracking, helicopter patrols, bubble curtains, underwater sounds and sharks' visual perception," Ms Banks said.
Western Australian's Department of Fisheries warned anyone caught sabotaging the lines could be fined up to $25,000 or be jailed for 12 months.
News.com.au reports some are not deterred by the government's threats.
WASC (Western Australians for Shark Conservation) founder Ross Weir said his group won't stand for the culling of endangered sharks and there were people "willing to intervene".
Mr Weir said it was not to WASC's advantage to reveal how the drum lines would be "neutralized," but confirmed it could include the cutting of lines.
Asked if he was prepared to break the law, he said: "Yes, we do have many members who are prepared to break the law. We do have many members who are prepared to intervene."
Asked if he would urge the public to take direct action at the rally, he added: "Yes, we will be asking the general public to take their boats and to go out there if they feel strongly enough about it."
He said volunteers would be made aware of the potential repercussions.
Another group, Animal Rescue Team, says they have boats and divers at the ready.
Spokeswoman Amy Lee said it would take "non-violent direct action," adding: "The only thing I can say is that we won't be wrecking any equipment. If anything, we will be checking them and quite possible taking the bait off them."
The following is from Southern Fried Science.