EPA Shuts Down Shark Cull Program; Agrees Shark Cull is Environmentally Unacceptable

Fisheries Department hauls shark onboard, it could be pregnant based on its wide girthFisheries Department hauls shark onboard, it could be pregnant based on its wide girth
Photo: Sea Shepherd
Drum lines will not be deployed off Western Australia (WA) beaches this summer after the state's Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advised against extending the government's controversial catch-and-kill shark policy.

The regulator's chairman, Paul Vogel said the available information and evidence do not provide the organization with a high level of confidence.

Premier Colin Barnett said the recommendation meant that drum lines would not be in place off the WA coast this summer.

Sea Shepherd Australia’s WA Shark Campaigner, Natalie Banks stated, “This is a tremendous victory for the people that understand the vital and important role sharks play in the health of our oceans. Finally their voices have been heard all over the globe.”

Managing Director for Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen stated, “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 world’s children need healthy oceans and in order to be healthy, oceans need sharks.”

The WA Government should be acknowledged and encouraged to continue with their other alternatives, to pursue life-saving shark mitigation techniques that do not kill marine life.

The WA shark cull caught a total of 172 sharks over the three-month trial, with the majority of these being tiger sharks. 50 tiger sharks of breeding size (mostly female) were shot and dumped out to sea. Tiger sharks only reproduce every few years and only a small number of their pups survive to maturity. The majority of the so-called “alive-released” sharks were in such a poor state that their chances of survival were slim to none. The WA Government had applied for a three-year extension of the cull.

Hawaii tried culling sharks for 18 years and it made no difference in terms of shark-related incidents.

Shark Cull Protest Feb 2014 Photo: Sea Shepherd/Omar ToddShark Cull Protest Feb 2014
Photo: Sea Shepherd / Omar Todd
Sea Shepherd Australia would like to congratulate and acknowledge supporters, the general community, the “No WA Shark Cull” movement, the shark scientists, the Greens, Labor, Animal Justice Party and select Liberal Members, and the numerous conservation groups that kept the pressure and the focus on ensuring that in the end, logic, public opinion, science and common sense would prevail for our oceans.

Sea Shepherd Australia is now urging the Honorable Greg Hunt, Federal Environment Minister, to listen to the public and to listen to the science and put forth shark mitigation strategies that protect human safety without killing marine life.

“To know that we can look out to iconic, world-renowned and beautiful places like Cottesloe Beach and not see drum lines this summer is a wonderful feeling. What we have off the Western Australian coast is nature on a grand scale, and in today’s world, this is rare and unique and should be celebrated,” stated Jeff Hansen.

Sea Shepherd Australia would love to have a dialogue with the West Australian state government to collaborate on alternatives that actually assist with beachgoers safety, without killing our marine life or making our beaches less safe, as the drum lines did.

Sea Shepherd Australia’s Operation APEX Harmony is committed to seeing an end to drum lines and nets around Australia’s coast that merely provide a false sense of security by killing thousands of marine animals, including whales and dolphins. It’s 2014 and these archaic, indiscriminate killers should be taken out of the sea and replaced, where there is a demand, with non-lethal alternatives.

“We had no choice but to take this challenge on for the sharks, especially when drum lines were placed basically right in front of our offices. No matter how hard this fight got, no matter how tired we became, we could never give up because the alternative was to do nothing. To do nothing would mean the continued destruction of our world’s oceans — and to quote Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson, the one thing worth fighting for on this planet is life!,” said Jeff Hansen.

Bruce the Rob Followers WA FisheriesSea Shepherd's "Bruce the Rib" Followers WA Fisheries
Photo: Sea Shepherd

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