Topic

sharks

20 petitions

Started 4 months ago

Petition to barnstable county

STOP SHARKS FROM BEING KILLED

A Barnstable County commissioner is proposing a controversial “shark hazard mitigation strategy” after a shark attacking a seal off a Cape Cod beach Monday sent terrified swimmers and surfers scrambling to shore. Commissioner Ron Beaty is looking to deploy baited drum lines with hooks near popular beaches in the hopes of catching great white sharks — a protocol that he says has been successfully implemented in South Africa and Australia. Large sharks found hooked but still alive would be shot, he said, and their bodies would be discarded at sea. Sign this petition to STOP this from happening! Seals are back in force, with between 30,000 and 50,000 living in the waters of Southeastern Massachusetts, primarily on and around Cape Cod. Fishermen complain about seals taking their catch, boats run into them, some question their effect on water quality or their potential to spread disease, and raise concerns about the threat of a rapidly expanding great white shark population, visiting Cape waters to dine on blubber. Marine biologist Owen Nichols has studied them for fifteen years. He explained why the seal population has increased over the past few decades. "Well, they were essentially exterminated, extirpated, from our waters right up until the 1960's. So you are seeing a recolonization, essentially a resurgence of seals." Researchers counted 68 great whites off Cape Cod in 2014. That number doubled to 140 last year. But the hordes of seals are not only attracting sharks -- local fishermen like Doug Feeney say they're eating too many fish. Seals are voracious eaters. An 800-pound male could consume up to six percent of his body weight each day. That's 50 pounds of fish, including valuable species like cod and flounder. These sharks are helping the seal population stay under control, they are not out for humans.  Only about a dozen of the more than 300 species of sharks have been involved in attacks on humans. Sharks evolved millions of years before humans existed and therefore humans are not part of their normal diets. Sharks are opportunistic feeders, but most sharks primarily feed on smaller fish and invertebrates. Some of the larger shark species prey on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals. Sharks have been known to attack humans when they are confused or curious. If a shark sees a human splashing in the water, it may try to investigate, leading to an accidental attack. Still, sharks have more to fear from humans than we do of them. Humans hunt sharks for their meat, internal organs, and skin in order to make products such as shark fin soup, lubricants, and leather. Sharks are a valuable part of marine ecosystems. 

megan mcdonnell
8,802 supporters