Over the weekend, thousands of Australians rallied in opposition to long-lines and special hunting licences that would see the deaths of countless sharks and other animals around the western australian coast. The Huffington Post reported,
“Western Australia’s government will install 72 hooks with bait, close to Perth’s beaches, to kill the sharks, whow have been responsible for seven fatal attacks on swimmers in just three years. The policy will begin on January 10th.
Any shark which is more than three metres long, which might include Great White Sharks, will be shot and killed by commercial fishermen, given the contracts for the cull.”
A 72-hook long line is set to be installed off the coast of Perth this month which will not only catch and kill the intended smaller sharks, but also dolphins, turtles and fish of all kinds. Great White Sharks are a protected species, and yet, the contracts to kill sharks will include them, as well as tiger and bull sharks.
Reports are saying that between 4000-4500 people showed up on Cottesloe Beach in Perth to protest the cull. Sea Shepherd Australia director Jeff Hansen said: “Western Australians have spoken. It’s the biggest rally I think we’ve ever seen in WA – and it’s for sharks. People are educated and they understand the importance that sharks play in our oceans.” Surfers were interviewed and said that anyone who goes into the water to surf on this coast understands the risks associated with doing so, and that it doesn’t justify killing these sharks and endangering the ocean ecosystem. There is a second rally at Cottesloe scheduled for Feb 1.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Australia has announced that they intend to deploy activists in boats to watch the fishermen with the contracts for the culling of sharks larger than 3m, and photograph each kill as well as take every possible measure that is legally afforded to them to save sharks that are in danger from fishermen. The contracted fishermen have been advised to carry tarps with them to inhibit the killing from being documented. The government denies encouraging secrecy, but reminded individuals that they faced up to $25,000 in fines and 12 months jail for unlawfully interfering with fishing gear, and a $10,000 fine for interfering with lawful fishing activity.
A petition opposing the cull now has over 36,000 signatures from WA, Australia and internationally.
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