Please help stop Western Australia from killing Great White Sharks

White sharks are an endangered species protected by CITES and the Australian Government.  Indiscriminate knee jerk reactions like  culling white sharks in response to unfortunate loss of life is not proper management. Please take practical precautions without harming these sharks, or killing sharks unrelated to an attack.

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Dear Premiere Barnett

We the undersigned urge you to protect and properly manage white shark populations off the coast of Western Australia and immediately stop the cull of Great White Sharks (White Pointers).  While any loss of human life to wildlife is regrettable, indiscriminate slaughter is not the solution. Notable West Australian marine biologist WA Professor Shaun Collin from the University of Western Australia (UWA) has stated that the culling of any species of sharks is not the solution and Shark Stewards concur.

Indiscriminate fishing for sharks wills result in undesired casualties among other species and sharks that were not responsible for the incidents.

Indeed, bait is very likely to attract more sharks or attack sharks to stay near Rottnest Island, putting other recreational divers and tourists at risk.Australian marine biologist and great white expert, Barry Bruce, said it was unlikely that the same shark was responsible for all three fatalities.

A more plausible explanation is that this is the time of year when sharks move along the coast, and there are undoubtedly multiple sharks out there following this exact pattern,” Sharks cover a wide range of territory and routinely pass off shore in their migrations hunting whales and other marine mammals.

 Although it is difficult to assess the population size of Great White Sharks, available data indicates a decline in abundance and size of the species in some areas of Australian waters. "There is no data to suggest that shark numbers are increasing off WA's coastline and shark attacks in Australia have remained relatively constant over time, occurring at a rate of approximately one per year for the last 50 years," adds Dr. Collin.

Although not specifically targeted, White Sharks are caught as bycatch on long liners and in the nets of professional fishers and in fin fish farm cages such as tuna farms. This is currently thought to be the largest cause of mortality for Great White Sharks.

The estimate of Great White Sharks caught by commercial and recreational fisheries is between 100-440 each year throughout Australian waters.

Evidence of a declining population, its life history characteristics (long lived and low levels of reproduction), limited local, distribution and abundance and bycatch in commercial fisheries has lead to concerns for this species.To react to the fears of tourism operators by killing an endangered species is irresponsible.

Spotting from the air, beach watches, posting advisories, beach closures if required and educating the public of proper shark avoidance are all solutions applied successfully in Australia and elsewhere.For these reasons we urge you to immediately require WA Fisheries Minister Norman Moore to desist from targeting sharks off the coast of West Australia.


David McGuire, Director

Shark Stewards

A Program of the Turtle Island Restoration Project

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