End cruel baiting and netting of Australia’s sharks!
Coastlines across Australia are becoming increasingly dangerous places to swim – for sharks. Despite the fact many shark species are in decline – along the coast of WA, QLD and NSW, sharks are being trapped in nets, painfully hooked and killed in an attempt to reduce encounters with beach-goers.
But experts have warned that these cruel measures won’t work, and that they’ll only further dwindle the numbers of threatened and endangered species, like Great Whites, Bull Sharks and Tiger Sharks. If that weren’t bad enough, shark netting and baited hooks also threaten countless non-targeted marine animals, like dolphins, turtles and even whales.
Since the introduction of shark ‘control measures’, thousands of protected sharks – including many who did not pose any threat to humans – have died along Australia’s shorelines. With non-lethal control methods already available, such as shark enclosures, deterrent devices and air patrols, it’s time for the governments of WA, QLD and NSW to recognise that sharks don’t deserve to be hunted down and killed.
A cruel death
Drum lines with large hooks attached are baited to attract sharks. Animals caught on these hooks, including undersized sharks, non-target species of shark, as well as other marine life can suffer for hours before being discovered by patrols.
Shark nets are often submerged along popular coastlines. But, despite public misconceptions, shark nets don’t keep sharks out, they kill them. In fact, many sharks caught in these nets are actually found on the shore-side. Sharks need to keep moving in order to breathe, so when they become tangled in nets and are unable to swim, they may slowly suffocate to death.
While shark nets are designed to allow smaller fish through, any number of marine animals, including seals, dolphins, dugongs, and turtles can become twisted up, injured and can even drown in nets. In 2013, a humpback whale calf died after becoming tangled in a shark net off a Sydney beach.
Although baited hooks are less likely to kill non-target species than nets, animals such as dolphins and turtles can still get caught, as can those sharks who pose no threat to humans. In fact, in 2013, half of sharks caught off NSW beaches were not considered a threat– but only 5% of all sharks found in nets survived.
Avoiding an encounter
Most people will never see a shark at a beach – and the chances of having an encounter with one are incredibly low (in fact you’re more likely to be killed falling out of bed!). However there are many ways that we can all enjoy Australia’s beautiful beaches whilst improving our personal safety – you’ll find some great tips here. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that sharks are not the ‘bad guys’ – they are trying to survive like any other wild animal, and we are simply visitors in their ocean home.