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The fear of sharks unfounded

Monday, February 10, 2014

In Trinidad a shark is killed and we line up for bake and shark. In Australia a shark is killed and more than 6,000 people protest. Western Australia’s premier, Colin Barnett, hardly expected the outrage. It was supposed to be a vote-winner, soothing voters’ shark fears—the Western Australian shark cull. Instead it prompted outrage and ridicule from environmentalists and scientists worldwide. 


Western Australia has had seven fatal shark attacks in the last three years. The shark-cull rationale: killing large sharks near beaches will safeguard swimmers and surfers. The method: 72 baited drum lines. A drum line is a floating barrel, anchored to the sea floor, attached to a line with baited shark hooks. Drum lines have been used since 1962. It is claimed they are effective in targeting the three sharks most dangerous to man: the bull shark, the tiger shark and the CITES-protected great white shark.


There has been much criticism of the shark cull. It is unscientific and unproven. It causes Australia to kill CITES-protected sharks like the Great White, which Australia is bound by international convention to protect. It has damaged Australia’s international standing as a country which protects its environment. Some divers and tourists have already announced they will not visit Australia as long as the shark cull continues.


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