Don't approve shark culling in WA waters. A healthy ocean needs healthy shark populations.
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We express our deep concern regarding proposed plans by recreational fishing groups, to open areas of Western Australia (such as the Gascoyne, Pilbara, and Kimberley regions) to commercial shark fishing, with the express purpose of reducing the shark population. The activity will inevitably be seen as a government-sanctioned shark cull.
Whilst we understand the recreational fishing sectors desire for reduced depredation, this is not the way to achieve that outcome. These actions have the potential to result in cascading and devastating impacts across the marine ecosystem. There is no scientific evidence that suggests a ‘boom’ in shark population, nor any evidence that the removal of an apex predator from a marine environment will create long term benefits to an ecosystem.
Although research shows Australia’s North West to have a higher than global average shark population, this is due to low baselines globally, not abundance in Western Australia. It is proven that 20% of reef systems across the planet are now entirely without the presence of sharks. Many of these have seen a trophic collapse and severe reduction in fish stocks.
The reality is that significant removal of sharks from an ecosystem may contribute to the collapse of marine environments that are already stressed by increasing demand for fish across Western Australia. It is imperative we protect sharks at all costs in order to maintain healthy fisheries for future generations.
Please do not proceed with this government-sanctioned cull, executed by the private commercial fishing sector, in order to appease recreational fishermen who may not have the full ecological picture and are primarily concerned with their own social impacts, which could be mitigated in other ways.
Image: Tom Cannon / Protect What You Love (joint petition organiser)
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