Sharks. They’re one of the most debated animals on the planet. You either love them or you hate them, but even if you hate them it’s more likely that you’re actually scared of them and the stories surrounding the species.
I believe that they are put in a negative light by the media world. I mean, who wants to hear a happy love story about a fish with five rows of sharp teeth?
You only have to look at animated films such as Finding Nemo and Shark Tale to see how easy it is to view and remember the shark as the “baddie” of the sea.
Sharks are a huge topic of discussion at the moment, due to the current shark culling in Australia.
The government have said the shark cull is to reduce the relatively small number of shark attacks, although ludicrously, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to prove that that shark slaughter is a solution to shark attacks – as was found after the shark cull in Hawaii during the 1950s.
The shark cull involves barriers being placed in the sea that catch sharks that swim “too close” to popular beaches in Western Australia. The sharks are then shot and their bodies are dumped in the sea. The Independent reported that: “drum lines holding huge hooks covered with bait [were] laid down by a private contractor.”
Although the WA government states the hooks “only target sharks above three metres”, a two metre tiger shark was caught and killed at the beginning of February.
People say, there are two sides to every story; however, I believe that there are in fact three sides to every story – the two omnipresent sides, and the media’s version.
From the years 1580-2013, sharks in Australia have killed 202 people – that’s 202 people in 433 years!
Now of course I’m not saying that 202 people dying from shark attacks is insignificant, of course it isn’t, but there will always be conflict when the human race – the world’s most dangerous animal – and the natural world invade each other’s territory, because they are not used to living together and are not built that way.
The statistic view of the matter is, the chances of being killed by a shark when scuba diving in Western Australia is one in three million…one in three MILLION.
In the US, you are over 80 times more likely to be killed by lightning than by a shark attack, with less than one shark fatality every two years.
Since the start of the shark culls there have been protests in the cities of Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and the beaches of Victoria and Queensland. So far 63 tiger sharks, two makos and one blacktip have been caught.
I just don’t understand how on one hand worldwide governments are calling a summit to discuss ways to protect endangered wildlife, yet Australia’s federal government “gave state authorities a special exemption from environmental laws to kill white sharks, a protected species.” (Independent)
In 2012, the government rejected the use of drum lines “as an effective option to reduce shark bite risk” so the use of these lines now is surely a step backwards in wildlife protection. And in fact, shark attacks were at their lowest average last year in 10 years, so why are these apparent “safety nets” being put into place now?
All I know is that, like all other wildlife related issues occurring right now, people need to see that it is not the animals becoming “increasingly aggressive” and the solution is not to constantly feel that intervening is the only solution to this “problem.”
The animals have always been “aggressive”, they’re animals. Just like we all get aggressive or defensive or scared when someone tries to attack us or we feel threatened.
Every species has an in-built instinct and reaction to whatever situation is affecting us at any given time, it’s like a reflex.
If you broke in to someone’s house, you wouldn’t kill the owner because they tried to defend themselves and their home, or if you did, you would be in prison for it. So why is the shark culling in Australia so acceptable?
If you attacked someone with military weapons and machines, and they merely had their fists to fight back, is that fair? The human race is only doing this because they have the resources to make them so much more dominant.
The fact that even shark attack victims have opposed the culling tells you something, doesn’t it?
When you step into the sea, you are taking the risk, if sharks weren’t the “danger” it would be jellyfish or even drowning!
When I was on holiday in Barbados a few years ago I was stung by a stonefish – the second most poisonous fish in the world. It was a horrific experience and the doctor told me that because the poison from the fish’s spikes was injected into the bottom of my foot (I stepped on it) where the skin is thick, I was lucky. If it were anywhere else on my body I could have died.
But just because I went through this experience it doesn’t mean that I want to kill or even harm all of the stonefish in the sea. Because I understand that the fish … its spikes because it felt threatened as I was essentially invading its home, even though I was unaware of the fish on the seabed.
Why the government are spending so much time, money and effort on the shark culling in Australia and not on protecting the natural world by catching poachers is frankly beyond me.
Is it fair that this cull was put in place because seven people were killed in three years, while over 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year from fishing?
Both killings are due to humans invading their territory for recreational purposes.