As opposition grows against a terrible program to kill sharks to protect people in Western Australia (WA), it seems that some unlikely heroes have outsmarted the government and learned to free the sharks. Who are those heroes? Dolphins.
Following seven fatal attacks, WA announced a plan to keep people safe by randomly reducing the numbers of large tiger sharks, bull sharks and great white sharks by setting out baited drum lines in designated zones, in addition to contracting with fishermen to monitor the lines and “humanely” destroy sharks who are found alive by shooting them and discarding their bodies offshore.
The first victim was a tiger shark who was caught and killed on January 26, which was a national holiday.
The government’s plan raised some harsh opposition from conservation organizations, politicians, local communities, surfers and environmentalists who were not only opposed to senselessly killing innocent sharks without any science to back up the plan, but were also against leaving baited hooks in the water that would indiscriminately kill predators and pose a serious threat to other marine creatures, including dolphins, turtles, fish, rays and whales.
However, this method for killing sharks has been foiled by clever dolphins who have figured out how to remove the bait from hooks without getting caught.
The footage was taken by marine researcher Richard Fitzpatrick six years ago, but was only recently released in an effort to show that not only are these hooks rendered useless within moments by dolphins, but that they are posing a serious threat to them, according to 7News. In an effort to deter dolphins from an easy meal the bait was changed to shark, but that hasn’t stopped them from going after the bait.
Fortunately, sharks aren’t falling short of human advocates either. Some have reportedly interfered by removing bait from drum lines, while thousands of people have joined protests in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over WA’s cull and have gathered even more momentum after undersized sharks were unintentionally caught.
The government continues to defend what it’s doing and hopes to reassure beachgoers of their safety, but it seems to have done nothing but horrify the public. Many continue to argue that continuing to kill sharks isn’t just a bad idea, but that it’s going to backfire when it comes to promoting tourism.
Even though an exemption was requested from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to move forward, shark advocates are now looking into legally challenging the government’s catch-and-kill policy in an effort to stop the cull.
Please sign and share the petition urging WA to protect biodiversity and stop indiscriminately killing sharks.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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