Since the Western Australian (WA) Government announced plans to cull White Sharks in December it has been a controversial and widely debated topic with school children from as far away as Canada writing the WA Premier to ask for the scientific evidence to support such a cull.
Following seven shark related deaths in WA waters over the last three years it was announced that baited drum lines would be placed at Perth and South Western beaches as early as Friday the 10th of January 2014. Any shark spotted in or near the lines will be shot and killed.
Blair Ranford from WA, who has worked with white sharks in South Africa, believes that this new policy is bad in more than one way. He does not agree with the cull but if the government does move forward with the cull then their plans to dispose of the carcasses at sea is further evidence of an ill thought out plan. Very little is known about these sharks and a lot could be learnt by dissecting the bodies. He argues that if they are to be senselessly killed then why wouldn’t we attempt to learn as much as possible about them?
News reports also suggest that other species may be accidentally caught and killed in the drum lines. The negative feelings towards the plans lead thousands of people to join protests on beaches all over Australia against the new policy.
Mr Ranford said WA could learn a lot from South Africa. In Cape Town, authorities had opted for public education campaigns and daily surveillance of beaches by lifeguards in lookouts – strategies he believed the WA Government had not properly pursued.
More on the story can be read at The Western Australian.