Great White Sharks have rapid population decrease due to late maturity, low fecundity as well as infrequent reproduction. They are in rapid population decline Globally, great whites have declined and are smaller in size than previously supposed (Baum et al. 2003, Chapple et al. 2011) with some estimates as few as only 3500 individual animals in the entire world before the culling began. Are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List. Play a key role in the marine food web as they mature into the position of apex predator (Baum and Worm 2009, Kim et al. 2012). Other studies have shown unpredictable and undesirable impacts to other species in the food chain when apex predators are removed.
Due to the recent news that Western Australia has decided to cull sharks we are writing to you in hopes that you reconsider your decision and desist of the practice. We, the authors of this letter are no experts in sharks however, the importance of sharks in our marine ecosystem is common and basic knowledge to anyone that took science class in school. In addition, it is also widely known the cruelty that sharks endure in the hands of humans and/or due to human negligence, even in protected areas, which will only worsen if it is legal. Shark reproduction is slow therefore addressing this issue is a top priority and should stop before any more damage is done. We, as well as other concerned people signing this petition ask you to allow research, such as in South Africa, in which sharks have been tagged to provide safety for swimmers by alerting with the tag pin when one is close to a certain range from the shore. Having seen the interest shown by most Marine Biologists, Researchers and Conservationists around the world in saving these sharks and search for other methods, we kindly urge you to let them help. We are certain that they will find another way of dealing with the safety situation in a much better way in which the sharks will be saved as well as the people who wish to enjoy the ocean. We know that you have received other petitions and letters, please consider them as well and see how many people are worried about the current method of culling. Funding for saving the planet is never too expensive; it is the future of our oceans and our ecosystem.
Surfers have been the most influential group for the decision to start culling sharks. Nevertheless, they are aware of the risks of entering the oceans. “DOZENS of WA surfers are lobbying government ministers for shark culling in the wake of a spate of sightings and two fatal attacks in WA.”(Baker, 2012). “One surfer who has had more first-hand experience in the issue than any of us is Ryan Soulis, who saw his best mate Ben Linden killed in a shark attack at Wedge Island, WA, in July. ‘I’m all for it. Human life and safety should be placed above all else,’ he said.” (Baker, 2012). Their sport comes with risks as do every other sport and, when they decide to enter the water they are aware that they are entering the habitat of a predator that is physically stronger than them. They are also aware that, when they lay down on their surfboards with their extremities extended out in the water they put themselves in a position that looks in the eyes of a shark as sharks’ favorite prey animals such as seals and sea turtles. How is it possible that an animal is killed and their entire existence disregarded (risked) when they are living in their own habitat? These sharks are not the ones invading peoples’ environment but the other way around.
In fact, Nicholas Edwards, a surfer from South Australia that had been warned by his mother many times about the risk of surfing told her: 'Mum I love surfing and if I am going to die then I will die doing something I love'. (AdelaideNow, 2010) Shark attack survivors are also raising their voice to protect sharks and have created “Shark Attack Survivors for Shark Conservation”.
The importance of sharks in our planet as part of the ecosystem and their inability to reproduce in a sustainable manner is widely known to you. We, as ordinary citizens, feel anger and frustration when we see the pictures of these beautiful animals being killed and their only fault is to be in their habitat.
We are not surfers, marine biologists, experts or government officials but this planet belongs to us too; this gives us the right to fight for the well-being of our natural resources and the creatures that inhabit it. This petition is also for our children, grandchildren and the generations that will be affected by today’s actions against the planet. We can only hope that you feel the same and find it in your heart to stop this irreversible crime before it is too late for these creatures and for our planet. In your own government Web site, under the Frequently Asked Questions section, your government recognized the vulnerability of these sharks. Time is a luxury that sharks don’t have...