Save the Great White Sharks of Western Australia

The Western Australian Government has recently announced new "shark mitigation" strategies, including plans to track and destroy sharks if identified in close proximity to beachgoers.

With the majority of Western Australians in favour of non-lethal shark protection programs, pre-emptively killing Great White Sharks is an extreme, excessive and a reckless response to ocean conservation. It is an erroneous representation of the views of Australians in general.

Researches have revealed that sharks routinely come close to humans without any incidents. While the culling a few sharks may seem inconsequential, the killing of endangered species listed in the IUCN Red list is disrespectful of nature and of the world’s populace.

Instead of pre-emptive culling, we suggest pre-emptive evacuation – ie if sharks are spotted within one kilometre of a beach or populated coastal water, immediate evacuation of the vicinity should be initiated.

Show your support by signing our petition to send a strong message to Colin Barnett, The Premier of Western Australia.

Attention to:
Honourable Colin Barnett MEc MLA
The Premier of Western Australia
 
We understand that your government is considering legislation to protect the locals and tourists from recent ill interactions with sharks.  In this instance, the board of directors and editors at Ocean Geographic Society and OceanNEnvironment Ltd Australia fervently express our concern of pre-emptive measures to cull sharks from coastal waters. Our views represent that of international scientific and conservation communities and also of Western Australian concerned stakeholders and ocean users, many of which are survivors and families of survivors of shark accidents.
 
Western Australia is globally recognised as one of the world’s leaders in conservation of the species of Great White shark. In Australia, the Great White Shark Carcharodon carcharias)  is listed as vulnerable and migratory under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and globally it is listed in the  IUCN World Conservation Congress RED LIST as  Vulnerable A2cd+3cd ver 3.1 (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/3855/0)
 
Sharks are apex predators, their roles are vital to keep the health of the ocean in balance. Sanctioning pre-emptive culling is a giant step backward in conservation and will bring ill reputation to Australia and your government.  Sanctioning pre-emptive culling will no doubt spawn off witch hunts and preposterous behaviour in local waters.
 
With the majority of Western Australians in favour of non-lethal shark protection programs, pre-emptively killing Great White Sharks is an extreme, excessive and a reckless response to ocean conservation. It is an erroneous representation of the views of Australians in general.
 
Researches have revealed that sharks routinely come close to humans without any incidents. While the culling a few sharks may seem inconsequential, the killing of endangered species listed in the IUCN Red list is disrespectful of nature and of the world’s populace. Homo sapiens are not on the endangered list.  The remaining population of Great While sharks are significantly low and the specie reproduces very slowly. 
 
Approved pre-emptive culling of the Great White will in fact bring a negative impact on nature based tourism.  Already potential visitors are expressing concern about the new legislation, indicating they may boycott Western Australia as a tourism destination if the pre-emptive kill policy is enacted. With the downturn in the mining industry protecting tourism from the negative image a cull would represent is more important than ever.
 
Instead of pre-emptive culling, we would like you to consider pre-emptive evacuation – ie if sharks are spotted within one kilometre of a beach or populated coastal water, immediate evacuation of the vicinity should be initiated. We are sure you can appreciate that sharks live in the ocean and it is humans that choose to put themselves at risk by visiting their domain.
 
Besides funding public warning and evacuation measures, please also consider research funding for better understanding and protection of this endangered animal. We hope you will respect the wishes of the majority of Western Australians, as well as the sentiments of a global community and protect Great White Shark Carcharodon carcharias)  for the wellbeing of our planet.
 
The Ocean Geographic Society
OceanNEnvironment Ltd – member of Environment Australia
 
Michael AW - PhD, Publisher, Ocean Geographic, Board Member, OceanNEnvironmet Ltd
David Doubilet & Jennifer Hayes - National Geographic Photographer in Residence
Howard Hall - Producer,  3D IMAX Coral Reef Adventure, Into the Deep
Michele Hall -  Producer,  3D IMAX Coral Reef Adventure, Into the Deep
Howard Latin - Phd, Distinguished Professor of Law and Justice Francis Scholar, Rutgers University
Emory Kristof - National Geographic Explorer in Residence
Gerry Allen - PhD, Conservation International
Amos Nachoum - Fellow Explorer Club, Professional Underwater Photographer
Christophe Lee - Snr Manager, Dept of Climate Change
Amanda Cotton - Wildlife Photographer
Lesley Rochat - Director, AfriOceans Conservation Alliance
Laurent Ballesta PhD - Naturalist, Film Producer, France
Stuart Ireland - Director, Calypso Productions
Howard Womersley - Underwater Photographer, divebuzz.com
Cabell Davis, PhD -  Chief Scientist, WoodsHole, Boston
Wyland - Artist for United Nation

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