Care2 Member Success! Australia’s EPA Rejects Cruel Shark Cull

In a major win for sharks and their advocates, Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended Western Australia (WA) end its controversial shark killing program.

After a series of fatal attacks, WA’s government proposed a new program in an effort to keep beachgoers safe that involved setting out baited drum lines, which consist of a large baited hook attached to a buoy and an anchor to hold it in place, in designated zones along popular beaches with the intention of killing great white sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks who were larger than three meters.

The plan sparked outrage from conservation organizations, local communities. politicians, celebrities and marine scientists from around the world who criticized it for being nothing more than a pointless cull that would have a devastating impact on marine ecosystems, while doing nothing to really keep people safe. Concerned Care2 member Holly Jade decided to do something about it and†started a petition demanding an end to the horrible practice. Thanks to Holly’s petition, over 38,000 Care2 members were able to express their frustration by†signing her petition.

Hundreds of conservationists, surfers, divers, students and children turned out signs calling for the cull to end at a protest in February. Credit: Thinkstock

This past May, government figures that were released showing the death toll added fuel to the opposition. Between January and April, 172 sharks were caught, while 50 tiger sharks longer than 10 feet were killed. Figures also show that 14 sharks measuring less than 10 feet died on the drum line and four more were destroyed because they were too weak to survive the ordeal. Stingrays and mako sharks, who are a protected species, were killed as bycatch on drum lines. Yet not a single great white, who are believed to be responsible for the fatal attacks, was caught.

Thankfully, this week the EPA announced that it recommended against continuing the program, which was supposed to be extended for another three years, over concerns about how it could hurt the population of great whites, who are a protected species, and because of “a high degree of scientific uncertainty” after assessing the program as part of a Public Environmental Review.

“At this stage, the available information and evidence does not provide the EPA with a high level of confidence. In view of these uncertainties, the EPA has adopted a cautious approach by recommending against the proposal,” said the EPA’s chairman Paul Vogel.

The recommendation means no drum lines will be put in the water this summer, which will keep sharks safer and should thrill the thousands of people who have spoken out against the cull. According to news reports, the EPA’s review received a record amount of public input.

“The EPA should be congratulated for listening to the people, listening to the science and giving sharks and future generations the respect they deserve. The worlds children need healthy oceans and healthy oceans need sharks,” said Sea Shepherd’s Managing Director Jeff Hansen.

While there will be a two week window for a public appeal before the EPA releases its final verdict on the matter in October, and a final decision will be up to WA’s Environment Minister Albert Jacobs, Premier Colin Barnett said he was disappointed with the results, but would accept them adding that it was unlikely the government would appeal the decision. It will still also need to be approved by Environmental Minister Greg Hunt, who shark advocates hope will sign-off on canceling the program.

Those who have been working to save sharks from an inhumane death on drum lines are still hoping the government will look to other non-lethal measures to help improve public safety from increased aerial patrols and shark barriers to more education for the public.

If thereís something you feel passionate about and you want to make a difference, you can start a Care2 petition just like Holly Jade. Care2′s community of activists will help rally behind your cause and make it a success.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

105 comments

Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

WE NEED GREAT NEWS !!!

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jan b.
jan b3 years ago

YAY

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Alexandra G.
Alexandra G3 years ago

great news :) thanks for sharing

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Ben Oscarsito
Ben O3 years ago

Right on! Now; -Imagine what difference one million (Active) Care2 members could make!

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Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan3 years ago

Good news! :)

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Julia Troitskaia
Julia T3 years ago

Wonderful news! Thanks.

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Mademoisell LeBel
Melanie LeBel3 years ago

:)

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Jeannet Bertelink

Wonderful!!

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Mary Cromley
.3 years ago

Very good news. Thank you for the update.

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