W.A MARINE LIFE NEEDS YOUR HELP! HELP WASC END THE W.A SHARK CULL

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Western Australians for Shark Conservation (WASC) is a Perth based Shark Conservation group formed in 2011 to promote the conservation of endangered shark species, an education, research and prevention approach to shark attacks, and to bring about the rescinding of the Western Australian State Governments recent Shark Mitigation strategy, the Imminent Threat Policy and the W.A Shark Cull.

We are the only specifically Shark focused direct action conservation group in Western Australia.

WASC is carrying out an on water campaign following, documenting and exposing the Slaughter of Sharks and other marine life such as turtles, dolphins and other marine mammals on the destructive Drum lines to be used in this cull.
With 72 baited lines 1km off of two sections of our coast we need as many donations to fuel vessels and run this campaign as possible.
We also need to purchase a vehicle and a safer/larger boat and need to purchase a raft of other equipment.

Our campaign may be ready to go but we are neutral without you!
We can guarantee you will see your money being put to work out there off the coast off Western Australia.
Our work will be highly reported and documented by some of the biggest names in worldwide news.

This despicable and highly illegal cull will be seen by the entire world!

Please visit our website and Facebook page
to read more on WASC and our work to save Western Australian sharks and marine life.

Thank you very much for your time and donations, every cent counts and is well spent on these most crucial keystone species.
Please follow this link to our go fund me page.

Sincerely

Ross Weir.
Founder and Spokesperson
Western Australians for Shark Conservation
www.wasc.org.au
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WASC & ART VOLUNTEERS AND CREW HIT THE WATER FOR WA SHARKS

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WASC & ART VOLUNTEERS AND CREW HIT THE WATER FOR WA SHARKS

WASC and ART hit the water today in protection of Western Australian Sharks.
With the drum lines deployed in our states Southwest (specifically Dunsborough/Meelup) We felt a need to hit the water in the Perth area, check the location of a certain vessel, test some gear/cameras and check for any possible drum lines along the way.
We expect Drum lines to be deployed on the Perth coast in a matter of days with none so far reported or found by us or the volunteers keen to report them.

Volunteers and crew from both groups have been active in the SW region for a few days, with baits indeed being removed, survailance carried out and some potentially very valuable, yet to be seen footage to be released soon.

We have seen an amazing team of groups and individuals coming together to achieve the rescinding of this policy and we will expose all of it’s dirty handed and massively floored in’s and out’s.

Watch this space!
Fins First!

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Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson.
enquiries@wascgroup.com
Find us on Facebook.

 

 

 

Barnett uses W.A Fisheries to carry out his dirty work

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 W.A Fisheries to carry out Premier’s dirty work while Barnett fights dirty.

 The drum lining of the Western Australian coast now seems imminent as the Barnett government employs the Department Of Fisheries Western Australia to carry out its despicable and highly illegal shark cull in the coming weeks. The South West tender has been awarded to a commercial fishing business and WASC and the Marine Response Unit will be looking to form and send a crew or crews to the area. Any participant in the WA Government’s shark cull program will be subjected to a rigorous PR and Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) campaign, as well as potential legal action.

This announcement comes after the hunt was delayed yesterday (21 January 2014) due to issues with the tender applicants pulling out and alleged death threats that to both State Fisheries Minister, Ken Baston and owners and operators of the businesses who had applied for the contract.

Western Australians for Shark Conservation and the associated groups who make up the Marine Response Unit utilise the use of non-violent direct action tactics and have a zero harm policy. As with any passionate issue there will always be those who take matters into their own hands and cross the boundaries which legitimate conservation groups must navigate in order to achieve an end objective.

The presence and actions of these individuals simply illustrates the massive public outrage present in regards to this illegal policy.

WASC and the associated groups working on this issue condemn and discourage the actions of those members of the public who have expressed their anger in regard to the Western Australian Shark Cull, in an inappropriate manner.

In the past week we have seen numerous poor attempts on behalf of Colin Barnett’s buddies at the West Australian Newspaper to discredit and sway public opinion against us.
This is simply a sign that all we are doing is working.

Sitting very near the top of the ladder at the West Australian newspaper is Editor in Chief, Bob Cronin – State Liberal Party loyalist and personal friend and supporter of Mr Colin Barnett. Many of you may recall seeing Mr Cronin in an appearance on the ABC network’s Q&A in recent years, in which he stood as one of few defendants for Mr Barnett’s proposed Kimberley gas hub, and was in the end eaten for breakfast by former Greens leader, Bob Brown. Mr Barnett’s influence over the West Australian has been known for some time.

At this point in time, Mr Barnett and his government have no other tricks up their sleeve but to utilise what influence and control he has over state media, and attempt to turn public opinion against us.

Given that the majority of the WA public are against this policy, I doubt this will be a success.

Collin Barnett and the state government are currently bearing the anger of thousands of disgruntled Perth beach-goers and citizens, not to mention the unbelievable level of interest from international groups and individuals outraged by this impending assault on marine life.

To blame the groups working together in this campaign for the vandalism of his Cottesloe office and death threats which have allegedly been made against the Fisheries Minister and tender applicants, is ludicrous and quite possibly completely false. These allegations may be completely fabricated.

With the larger majority of WA citizens outraged and appalled at this so called “targeted, localised shark hazard mitigation strategy”, Colin Barnett and the state government have now had to resort to fighting dirty.

WASC and the Marine Response Unit’s plans and intentions remain unchanged despite the relegation of the duty of killing various species of marine life from commercial fishers or businesses to the Department Of Fisheries Western Australia. This is a government department whose sole purpose is to ensure sustainability and biodiversity of our marine species here in Western Australia.
A government department whose primary motto and slogan is “Fish for the Future”.
FISH FOR THE FUTURE!?” QUITE OBVIOUSLY NOT!

Once again at the hands of Cullin’ Colin Barnett our state fisheries department is a complete mockery of an organisation. We now will have the very same Shark Response Unit ( S.R.U) that had recently been tagging and researching these sharks, out there drum lining with the task of killing them whether tagged or not. In recent weeks we have seen the scrapping of a new fisheries shark alert website after WASC raised concerns it would be used by commercial fishers to locate and catch sharks rather than for the public and research. This technology and the existing shark monitoring network could now be used against sharks in order to destroy them rather than conducting the needed research in order to understand and live with these vulnerable prehistoric ocean predators.

The recent announcement of an exemption from the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act ( EPBCA) granted by Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, now opens both State and Federal government to the pending legal action being pursued by Sea Shepherd Conservation society and the Environmental Defenders Office among many others.

Mr Hunt says he had deemed the plan should be exempt from the law because it is in the “national interest” of protecting public safety and tourism.

In actual fact, this policy will further endanger the lives of Western Australian beach goers, surfers and in particular, divers. The presence of 72 drum lines baited with shark flesh has a very real potential to attract increased numbers of sharks to within a kilometre of WA beaches, as does the dumping of carcasses.

Claims of a decline in Western Australian Tourism are also false, with statistics from Tourism Australia stating there were 6.4 million visitor arrivals for the year ending October 2013, which is an increase of 5.4 per cent relative to the previous year. The primary reasons Perth and Western Australia may not be equalling or surpassing other Australian states in tourism are likely to be the very high price of living in Western Australia, our isolation and a lack of decent tourism campaigns and advertising.

WASC is continuing our call upon recreational skippers and volunteers from both the S.W and metro regions to further grow our name and shame and M.R.U non-violent direct action fleet.

If you are passionate about helping stop this cull please contact us at: enquiries@wascgroup.com.

Should you find that emails to the above email address bounce, please send to WASC Secretary, Tamara Hopkins: tamara@wascgroup.com

Please also call and email the officials listed below, expressing your firm opposition to this policy.

Greg Hunt MP
Member for Flinders

Minister for the Environment
greg.hunt.mp@environment.gov.au
http://www.greghunt.com.au

Postal Address:
PO Box 274
Hastings Vic 3915

Electorate Office:
Shop 4/184 Salmon Street
Hastings Vic 3915

Phone: 03-5979 3188
Fax: 03-5979 3034

Honourable Colin J Barnett MEc MLA
Premier; Minister for State Development; Science
1 Parliament Place
WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: +61 8 6552-5000   /   Fax: (08) 6552-5001
e-Mail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au
Internet: www.premier.wa.gov.au/Ministers/Colin-Barnett

Honourable Ken C. Baston MLC
Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries
216 St George’s Terrace, PERTH WA 6000
Telephone: +61 8 6552-5400   /   Fax: (08) 6552-5401
e-Mail: Minister.Baston@dpc.wa.gov.au
Internet: www.premier.wa.gov.au/Ministers/Ken-Baston

Honourable Dr Kim D Hames MB BS JP MLA
Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Training and Workforce Development
13th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: +61 8 6552-5300   /   Fax: (08) 6552-5301
e-Mail: Minister.Hames@dpc.wa.gov.au
Internet: www.premier.wa.gov.au/Ministers/Kim-Hames

▶ Colin Barnett Exposed! 01. – YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qb1OQTVXNc

 

WASC, Sharks For Life,The M.R.U and associated groups thank you for your support and assistance in ending this abhorrent policy.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson
enquiries@wascgroup.com
westausforsharkconservation@gmail.com
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Shark fishers back the Greens in condemning drum lines policy

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image001Shark fishers back the Greens in condemning drum lines policy
Media statement, Tuesday 24 December, 2013.

The Greens say details in today’s shark capture tender released by the Premier’s office reveal even further cracks in the poorly crafted strategy to make WA beaches safe this summer.“WA commercial shark fishers have told me that  they were not consulted on this plan,” WA Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said.

“They are appalled because it will indiscriminately kill so many small sharks, including those species on whom their livelihood depends.

“In every other place that they have been used, drum lines have killed many more harmless, small-sized sharks and other marine animals than they have great white sharks.

“WA commercial shark fishers are especially concerned that the WA Government’s new policy will see the destruction of key breed stock of key species from their fishery, which is only now recovering, through careful management, from past overfishing.

“In Queensland, where drum lines and shark nets are used, more than half of the captures are of sharks less than two metres in length, in other words harmless sharks, and only one per cent of the catch is of great white sharks. Many of the species killed are listed as vulnerable or endangered.

“In South Africa, the number of tiger and great white sharks caught on drum lines has been outnumbered by five times by the capture of smaller sharks, catfish, humpback whales and leatherback and green turtles on those lines.

“There is nothing in the Premier’s tender specifications released today to address these concerns. The Greens call on the Premier to drop this widely-condemned, unscientific, ‘thought bubble’-based policy immediately.”

Australian Greens Marine Spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said the Federal Government should intervene in the State Government’s cull program.

“Great white sharks are listed as a vulnerable and migratory species under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and as such they are protected under the Act as a matter of national environmental significance,” Senator Siewert said.

“Any action likely to impact on them must be referred to the Commonwealth for assessment and approval. Both the State and Federal Governments should outline what discussions have been held and what if exemptions or approvals have been granted to enable the State to kill sharks.”

For comment: Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC
Mobile 0403 721 951
Media liaison: Nadine Walker
Mobile 0449 189 195

Office of Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, Member for South Metropolitan Region
Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia
Unit 7, 142 South Terrace, Fremantle, Western Australia 6160
Tel 08 9430 7233
Nadine.Walker@mp.wa.gov.au   www.LynnMacLaren.org.au

Western Australians for Shark Conservation appreciates the support of the Greens party and Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren and looks forward to continuing our work together to end this policy.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson
enquiries@wascgroup.com
westausforsharkconservation@gmail.com

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South African experience shows folly of WA Government’s proposed shark cull

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image001South African experience shows folly of WA Government’s proposed shark cull
Media statement, Monday 23 December, 2013.

Greens South Metro MLC Lynn MacLaren says official figures from Natal, South Africa, show that drum lines will kill many more harmless marine species than dangerous species.

“The WA Government has justified its unpopular new shark cull policy by citing experiences elsewhere yet an examination of the few places in the world where drum lines have been introduced shows that drum lines kill far more harmless species  than they do tiger and great white sharks,” Ms MacLaren said.

“With the release today of an open letter from 100-plus shark scientists around the world opposing the WA Government’s new shark killing policy, I challenge the Premier and Fisheries Minister to put forward a single Australian scientist who backs their policy.

“An examination of the annual reports of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board in Natal, South Africa, shows that for the past two years, the number of tiger and great white sharks caught in drum lines and nets off Natal has been outnumbered by five times by the capture of smaller sharks, catfish, humpback whales and leatherback and green turtles.

“In most cases, the capture of small, harmless sharks has led to their deaths; the sharks have suffocated because once caught on a drum line hook they cannot move sufficiently to pass water over their gills and receive oxygen.

“A Bond University study that was commissioned  by the WA Government last year on the best shark hazard mitigation study for WA, which clearly recommended against the use of drum lines, noted that the unintended catch of harmless marine species, including dolphins, would be especially high within the first years that drum lines were deployed – in other words, until the local populations of those species had been reduced.

“I suspect that this and the slow, cruel death that drum lines cause are the real reasons that the Premier has hinted that he will not allow the public to see the captures on drum lines if they are deployed.”

For comment: Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC
Mobile 0403 721 951
Media liaison: Nadine Walker
Mobile 0449 189 195

Office of Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, Member for South Metropolitan Region
Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia
Unit 7, 142 South Terrace, Fremantle, Western Australia 6160
Tel 08 9430 7233
Nadine.Walker@mp.wa.gov.au   www.LynnMacLaren.org.au

Western Australians for Shark Conservation appreciates the support of the Greens party and Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren and looks forward to working together to end this policy.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson
enquiries@wascgroup.com
westausforsharkconservation@gmail.com
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ATTENTION GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA- A MESSAGE FROM WASC CHIEF ADVISER ERIK BRUSH

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ATTENTION GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Attention government officials of Western Australia who are not yet familiar with me. Allow me to introduce myself to you and your administration. My name is Erik Brush. I have authored 3 books including “The Sixth Extinction”. I am one of the primary consulting biologists/shark conservationists in support of the WASC (Western Australians for Shark Conservation) as well as founder/Director of Sharks for Life! I’m also the draftsman of the 15 page White Shark report that was submitted to key officials in Parliament on March 2nd of this year.

I have been fighting for shark conservation for years now and have helped or actively fueled campaigns as small as trophy fishermen to commercial ventures to major corporations and Government officials in various countries. Right now every campaign has had a 100% success rate. We have never lost a campaign, and you are no different from Citi-Bank Hong Kong, Disneyland, Former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in Japan, Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Canada, US Senator Leland Yee in California, Former Senator Sarah Palin in Alaska, Former Head & US Representative of the IWC Dr. William Steve Hogarth, Talk show host Rosie O’ Donnell, or any of the others who have lost ground or jobs and money due to our involvement. Your officials are no different.

Your state is currently in violation of 15 major laws thanks to Premier Colin Barnett & retired Minister of Fisheries Norman Moore. If you believe that this embarrassing situation and these criminal acts will vanish in time please think again. My friends, supporters, and all of the organizations (both NGOs & Private parties) in support of legal actions to not only repeal this order and expose the crime behind this act, but to also prosecute all involved parties, plans to continue to bring media and legal forces to bear until a satisfactory resolution is achieved.

This will include investigation of all allegations and seeing Premier Barnett prosecuted and incarcerated for his complicity in these crimes. Additionally you may be sure that until such time as a repeal as well as an official explanation and statement of accountability on the part of your State Government is addressed, we will continue to press the issue as well as pushing this in the International criminal court system.

On a final footnote, the WASC & Sharks for Life are headed by bulldogs! We will never release or let go once we have clamped and locked our jaws on a target (metaphorically speaking). That target in this case is Colin Barnett and all participants in the cull order. EVERYONE involved will be subject to scrutiny, investigation, and ANY legal actions that can be taken to prosecute those who have knowingly participated in these criminal violations.

Your offices were given 9 months to comply with the 15 laws in question. Instead you have elected to break all of them. This means you are criminally negligent and legally responsible. You may wish to thank your Premier for all criminal investigations which will follow. Good luck. You’re going to need it!

Sincerely,
Erik Brush
Founder and Director of Sharks for Life!
sharksforlife@earthlink.net
Author, Shark Advocate, and consulting biologist for WASC (Western Australians for Shark Conservation).

Ross Weir
Founder,President,Spokesman
Western Australians for Shark Conservation
enquiries@wascgroup.com

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Greens spokesperson for Biodiversity Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC: Drum-lines not the answer.

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Drum-lines not the answer: Greens
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Media statement, Tuesday, 10 December, 2013.

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren joined speakers from Sea Shepherd and West Australians for Shark Conservation and a vocal group of protesters today on the steps of Parliament to call upon the Premier to abandon any plans to install drum-lines behind popular South-West surf-breaks to catch sharks in a doomed effort to stop fatal shark attacks.

A drum line is identified by Shark Defence Australia as ‘a large chain with a baited hook that is attached to a buoy and anchored at the bottom of the sea floor. Like shark nets, they are used to cull sharks in the area to reduce attacks on humans’.

“This announcement by the Government would fly in the face of scientific consensus on the best ways to mitigate sharks hazards including advice that the WA Fisheries Department commissioned last year from Bond University in Queensland,” Ms MacLaren said.

“The report, titled ‘Likely effectiveness of netting or other capture programs as a shark hazard mitigation strategy in Western Australia’ prepared for the WA Fisheries Department by Associate Professor Daryl McPhee of Bond University, found that due to their environmental impacts including significant amounts of by-catch, drum-lines should not be introduced in Western Australia.

 “It also stated that:

•           Where shark nets and drum-lines have been used in other jurisdictions they have resulted in high by-catch rates of species including dolphins, marine turtles, sharks and rays that are not implicated in attacks on humans, especially in the early years of the shark control programs;

•          Shark control programs would pose a risk to dolphins which can be an important tourist drawcard in a number of locations in Western Australia, for example Bunbury;

•           Any new shark control activities in Western Australia would likely require Commonwealth approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and that the approval pathways for this would cost an estimated $1 million and take up to two years;

•           Significant investment would be required to establish procedures, protocols and infrastructure to commence shark control activities, and once established the likely annual running costs would be more than $1 million; and

•           Shark-proof enclosures that give swimmers protection while causing no harm to
marine life should be given further consideration by the WA Government.

“It is beyond belief that the Barnett Government would ignore this sound advice,” Ms MacLaren continued.

“I urge the Government to clear up the current bureaucratic delays holding up the implementation of promised  trials of shark-repellent enclosures that will provide protection for swimmers while not harming large marine life.

“I also encourage the Government to use money it will otherwise spend on implementing drum-lines to divert these funds to the area that the marine scientific community is saying will really help protect the people utilizing deeper water such as surfers and divers: further research and education about how fatal sharks occur and can be avoided.

“There is so little we yet know about large sharks; we can certainly develop a more intelligent solution than just killing them.”

For comment: Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC
Mobile 0403 721 951
Media liaison: Nadine Walker
Mobile 0449 189 195

Office of Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, Member for South Metropolitan Region
Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia
Unit 7, 142 South Terrace, Fremantle, Western Australia 6160
Tel 08 9430 7233
Nadine.Walker@mp.wa.gov.au   www.LynnMacLaren.org.au

Western Australians for Shark Conservation appreciates the support of the Greens party and Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren and looks forward to continuing our work together to end this policy.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson
enquiries@wascgroup.com
westausforsharkconservation@gmail.com

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Surfer, Diver and White Shark Research Volunteer Blair Ranford on W.A’s reaction to Shark attacks.

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toppicTragically, another life was lost recently off the Western Australian coast. This is the sixth fatality in just over 2 years, and the confidence of water users up and down the coast has been shaken hard.

It’s impossible to imagine the grief the family and friends of Chris Boyd must be going through, of a loved one taken so suddenly. You can only add them to your prayers, and hope the saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is true. But of course it’s not, not for something like this, someone so close to you.

Western Australia is a place built around a coastal way of life. Surfing, diving, a day at the beach with family and friends, these are ingrained in the very fabric of the Western Australian way of life. But perhaps for the first time in a long time, that way of life seems on shaky ground. The innocence of a swim at Cottesloe, a surf down Margie’s way, now for many carrying a darker menace, an unseen threat.

The media love to fuel this dark obsession we have with what lies beneath the water line.  They exploit it, just to sell a few more papers, with no regard to the feelings of their readers. During a time when people need reasoned opinion, and educational and helpful information, the media feeds the dark obsession. Every shark sighting is a 5m Great White, every interview features someone claiming shark numbers have exploded, that they never used to come close to shore. You get the idea.

But I can’t help feel despite the tragic run of attacks, and despite my own fears, that we are heading down a very slippery slope. I am a keen surfer and diver, and spend every spare minute in the ocean in some form or another. I’ve always had a healthy fear of sharks, and still do, but have never wanted to see them culled.

Yet now we have a Premier looking to get approval to cull, to target and kill any large shark that is seen close to shore.

There is a common misconception, driven in part by the media that sharks have only recently started to come closer to shore. The reality is very different. Sharks, and in particular the shark most in the cross hairs the Great White, have always used the inshore stretches of our coast. They have used the beaches, of which many we also choose to use, at various times of the year. They follow fish migrations like salmon and snapper, and also target the smaller sharks like bronzie’s and school sharks drawn to these aggregations. They follow the whale migrations, which use sheltered bays along our coast to rest up with their calves on their epic journeys north and south.

They have always been there, and at least for me, I hope they always will be. I’ve had days where I have scared myself out of the water, jumping at shadows. I’ve seen sharks surfing, none Great Whites, although I have no doubt Great Whites have seen me before to which I was oblivious.  That fear of sharks is there every time I enter the water, but I still choose to surf and dive in the ocean I love. Yet I cannot bring myself to hold the shark responsible if something were to happen to me. To vilify, demonize, and treat it as you would a criminal. I choose to enter the shark’s environment, and the ocean IS a wild environment. It is no different to walking the plains of Africa. The ocean is a true wilderness, unfenced and untamed for thousands of miles in every direction. And that wilderness begins the moment you dip your toes in the water. I love the rawness of the ocean, the feeling of untamed and untouched, it’s what draws so many of us in. I know most surfers would understand that feeling, of riding the untapped energy from hundreds, if not thousands of km’s away. Of escaping the noise of the city, the day to day grind of work.
Nothing clears the mind like time spent in and on the ocean.

But you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  Speaking for myself, to take what I want from the ocean, that freedom and clarity of mind, the feeling of sand in the toes, the rush of a good wave, the silent serenity of a dive in an underwater wonderland, I have to accept everything the ocean entails. And that comes in the form of a very small risk, of potentially at anytime sharing that ocean with a predator. A predator who is essential to its ecosystem, for maintaining a balance. It belongs.

We as a race have destroyed, damaged and torn down most of the last great wild places, in our insatiable desire to expand. But right on our doorstep, we have one of the most remarkable ones imaginable. One we use and love every day. We have this incredible gift to share and enjoy at will. But how can we accept this gift, only to seek out and kill one if it’s most magnificent creatures.

We see lions and tigers as beautiful animals, deserving of protection. We express outrage as one if we see images of people holding up their dead heads, a pitiful trophy for some small-minded idiot. Yet these too are Apex predators, who take far more lives in a year than sharks take in a decade. If we express outrage at the killing of one, you cannot condone the killing of another.

Great Whites were protected in Australia in 1999, but there is little evidence to support any real increase in their populations. They are slow to mature (females 12-15 years); breed only every second year and their gestation period is thought to be 18 months. It’s simply biologically impossible for their numbers to have exploded.

At the time of protection they were listed as endangered, vulnerable to extinction.  Any increase would only be bringing their numbers back, towards where they should be in a healthy ecosystem. Australians like to see ourselves as environmentally conscious, and in the whole that’s true and I’m proud of it. But what does it say about our ethical standards, that we can see the need to protect an animal, yet when the population begins to recover (the very point of protection), following a spate of attacks, we turn and seek to kill them again. Potentially and very likely putting them right back where they started. Endangered and vulnerable to extinction.

That is not a situation my conscience is comfortable with. I have been fortunate to spend the past 7 years learning about the Great White Sharks firsthand, and the past 3 for periods as a research assistant. I am not a Marine Biologist, and I claim no degree to my name, but I have a respect for these animals built on many days at sea studying, tracking, tagging and learning more about them.

As a surfer, it’s easy to see sharks as the enemy, hidden and ready to strike when you least expect it. The saying goes ‘ know your enemy’. I have spent the past 7 years getting to know mine. And the more I learn, the more I realize just how valuable, and vulnerable they are. They can travel massive distances, spanning oceans, yet a fishing net will stop one dead. They are perfectly adapted for life in the oceans, yet millions of their kind are killed simply so some businessman can impress his colleagues by serving up their fins. They help keep the ocean strong in their role as an Apex predator, yet their bodies harbor levels of man made contaminants like mercury, far exceeding safe levels.

They are fighting a daily battle to survive, to maintain that crucial role they play. Keeping the ocean healthy, and in balance. And yet here, our Government wants to remove them from the endangered list. And to do so with no scientific basis. In fact the science available suggests they have recovered little. They want to cull any that come close to shore, well guess what, they all do. Are you comfortable with culling, in fact let’s just call it what it is, killing, hundreds of sharks every summer? Just so we can have a placebo effect of feeling just a little safer? And that’s what it would be, a placebo. Because the history of shark culls has never reduced the risk long term. The risk will always be there.

2ndpicPremier Barnett also suggested increasing shark fisherman’s quotas, but they don’t target the larger potentially dangerous species. They target the likes of school, gummy and bronze whaler sharks. These very same species make up a significant part of a Great Whites diet. So by increasing these quotas, Barnett will simply be further reducing the Great Whites supply of natural prey. In effect, these kneejerk policies would be increasing your risk, not reducing it. Is this how you want crucial decisions on shark policy made? So clearly ill informed, and with no scientific knowledge or backing.

Instead of killing sharks, let’s look for pro-active measures to help reduce the risks. South Africa has been running the Shark Spotters program along the Cape Coast of South Africa, and it is very successful at educating, informing, and helping keep water users safe. They use high cliffs close to shore, to position a spotter who using a system of flags and sirens; alerts water users to any sharks that are seen. It is not foolproof (and nothing is), but it does work and during spring it’s not uncommon to have 2-3 Great Whites sighted at a single beach in a day. There is no hysteria, no mass panic, and no media campaign pushing for culls. People watch the flags and when a shark is sighted leave the water. When the all clear is given they go back in. Something so simple.  They provide shark education, allowing the public to make informed decisions on when and where to use the water safely.

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Our South West region, the sight of many of the fatal attacks, could benefit from a similar program. Although not every beach is suited, places likes Yallingup, Margaret River main break, Meelup etc. are well suited to having shark spotters in place. Pro active and effective, it is to these ideas and more the Government should be looking. Exclusion nets are another great option, giving people a safe place to swim without the need to kill the sharks. One is planned for metro Perth, although we are yet to see it over a year after it was approved. Money far better spent than ineffective culls, and the media scare campaigns used to sell them. If you visit the beaches of Cape Town or California, shark information signs are on display. Providing valuable information and allowing beach users to make informed decisions on when and where to use the beach. It would be another positive and simple step forward, to see the same education in place here. We all know sharks are off our beaches, so why are we so afraid to put a sign up about them?

4thpicAs a surfer I hope this tough time brings us closer together, rather than divides us. Surfing is a family the world over, and in times of adversity we pull together. Maybe this is a timely reminder of that. That if your surfing with friends, and someone is alone in the surf, invite them to join you. Lets help make each other feel safe again, by looking out for one and another. Hoot a stranger’s good wave, say hi on the beach before you paddle out, and catch one for the fallen brothers lost so tragically. But remember why we love the ocean, that untamed and untouched, that freedom. And accept that we share that freedom, with another wild and untamed spirit. One that carries with it a risk, a very small one, yet even so, it belongs.

 

Sincerely.

Blair Ranford.
WASC Member and Supporter, Volunteer Great White Shark Researcher.
final pic

 

 

 

 

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Greens spokesperson for Biodiversity Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC opposes suggested shark culling.

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image002Greens spokesperson for Biodiversity opposes suggested shark culling.

Media statement, Tuesday, 26 November 2013.

 The Greens spokesperson for Biodiversity has today spoken out against responses to an increase in shark attacks in the State, labelling culling suggestions by the Fisheries Minister as a ‘rushed and ineffective reaction to a tragic situation’.

“To consider culling shark species, many of which are protected and endangered, is nonsensical and barbaric. Eastern states have attempted culling tactics and shark attacks have failed to decrease”, said Ms MacLaren.

 “The Barnett Government’s current method of killing a shark after an attack has also been ineffective, it is clearly designed to appease the public after the event, there have been no signs that attacks have reduced”.

 “We must stop fear-mongering around the Great White, these creatures don’t start eating seals, which is what they mistake humans for, until they are mature. The West Australians for Sharks Conversation have identified that the Great White is remarkably rare and there are reported to only be around 3000 remaining globally”.

“We need to be tagging and tracking these sharks effectively not sporadically killing them. Efforts to create a safer marine environment and a more informed public need to be stepped up.

“I send my condolences to the recent lives lost in Western Australia, most recently the loss in Gracetown, my thoughts are with family and friends”.

For comment: Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC
Mobile 0403 721 951
Media liaison: Nadine Walker
Mobile 0449 189 195

Office of Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC, Member for South Metropolitan Region
Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia
Unit 7, 142 South Terrace, Fremantle, Western Australia 6160
Tel 08 9430 7233
Nadine.Walker@mp.wa.gov.au   www.LynnMacLaren.org.au

Western Australians for Shark Conservation appreciates the support of the Greens party and Biodiversity Spokesperson Lynn MacLaren and looks forward to working together to end this policy.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson
enquiries@wascgroup.com
westausforsharkconservation@gmail.com
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SURFER DIES IN S.W SHARK INCIDENT. WHAT THE MEDIA AND STATE GOVERNMENT DON’T TELL YOU.

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35 YEAR OLD CHRIS BOYD, W.A SURFER DIES IN SHARK INCIDENT.
INEFFECTIVE “KILL ORDER” ISSUED UNDER NEANDERTHAL BARNETT POLICY

There has been a Shark attack this morning  (23/11/13) near Gracetown in Western Australia’s South West, an area known to be frequented by Great White Sharks and in particular at this time of year. The fatal incident occurred after a shark nudged a nearby surfer off of his board and then investigated and next struck Chris Boyd and his board near a surf break known as Umbilicals or “Umbies”. It is located just a stones throw from “Lefthanders” Break. Mr Boyd was killed instantly and announced deceased at 0905hrs.

Western Australians for Shark Conservation would like to express our sincere condolences and reiterate that Shark attacks are very rare events despite the unusually high number of incidents which occurred during the 2011/2012 season.
There are a number of potential factors which are thought to have influenced this rise in activity which I will list at the bottom of this article.

The beaches in the surrounding area have been closed and ocean users have been encouraged to avoid the area. Despite media and fisheries speculation, the species of shark has in actual fact not been identified. There have been multiple sightings of differing species and size sharks and it is highly unlikely that this Shark can be caught and identified as the animal responsible for Mr Boyd’s death.

Given that the beaches are now under surveillance, closed and vacated to the public there now can be no “Imminent Threat” to ocean users.
Fisheries vessels and the SW Shark patrol helicopter continue to monitor the area and surrounding coastline.

Despite this the Director General of the Western Australian Fisheries Department (Stuart Smith) has issued a “catch and Kill order” under the “Imminent Threat Policy”.

 ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT 1999 – SECT 212
Certain actions are not offences

(f)  an action that is reasonably necessary to prevent a risk to human health; or

(g)  an action by a Commonwealth agency, or an agency of a State or of a self-governing Territory, that is reasonably necessary for the purposes of law enforcement; or

(h)  an action that is reasonably necessary to deal with an emergency involving a serious threat to human life or property;

This policy was passed through parliament by Premier Colin Barnett and now retired Fisheries Minister Norman Moore. This was achieved by further opening an already existing loophole in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
This policy in actual fact violates many United Nations and Australian, laws, conventions and treaties and should be repealed immediately.

As we have seen, each time this policy is implemented it is completely useless as a method of Shark Incident mitigation.

These Sharks are worth more alive and tagged than dead. There is a requirement to preserve life on both sides here and tagging and tracking sharks is an effective method of obtaining more information and research which could be used to the benefit and safety of both ocean users and this Protected and Endangered species.

The S.W area and this area in particular is known to be prime White Shark habitat and Great White Sharks do reach a stage in their lives where they begin to develop more advanced hunting skills such as breaching and hitting seals. Moving from a diet of large fish to that of pinnipeds and larger prey as they mature.

This is thought to happen as they begin to mature or come within near of their reproductive ages. Male Great White Sharks are thought to reach maturity at around 4-4.5m or 10-12 years of age.Whilst females mature much slower at about 4.5-5m or between 12-17 years of age. Females also only reproduce every 2 years and have a gestation period of 18months.It is thought that between 1-8 pups can be born depending on Oophagy inside the womb. Oophagy is where young sharks devour each other in the womb. Only the toughest survive in the Shark world from the very beginning!

The Great White Shark was given Protected status in Australia in 1999 and is classified as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and is red listed. The problem with this being that studies to determine approximate, accurate numbers are not carried out frequently enough and often species are in actual fact more endangered than their status indicates.
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/3855/0

For example a study was recently carried out in South Africa by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust where analysing and studying of over 20,000 dorsal fin photographs of Great White Sharks revealed a population of around 808 to 1008.
Approximately half of the population thought to inhabit the waters surrounding the area.

This can be read here:
http://www.dict.org.za/blogs/2013/06/great-danger-for-the-great-white-shark/

So I ask the question how many are really out there?

The fact is we simply do not know and this has been confirmed in a recent study by CSIRO Shark Biologist and expert Barry Bruce recently.
Barry has been using genetic testing to study White Sharks on the Eastern and Western sea board of Tasmania, determining that there are two different genetic populations but it is very difficult to accurately gauge numbers. Numbers are thought to be lower than expected. I seems to have lost the entire study in my massive archive of research documents but will post the link to entire study here when I find it.

http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v455/p229-244/

http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&ved=0CG0QFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.uq.edu.au%2Fnews%2Farticle%2F2012%2F06%2Faustralia-has-two-distinct-white-shark-populations&ei=OLWRUs3RLMTtiAfR5YD4CQ&usg=AFQjCNGJvY3Fm2cHPUalZcTMMiE1cyaDyw&sig2=7DDolF2LK6151-xmoNvR6A

The Great White Shark is in actual fact more endangered than the Tiger with as few as 3000 individuals thought to be left globally.

As mentioned it is likely that this number is actually lower than that today.
Though a minor increase in population is likely many marine and Shark biologists have stated that given what is known in regard to White Shark reproduction (which is very little) and the time in which they have been protected, it is physically and genetically impossible that their numbers have significantly increased.

Though under significant threat globally we may have seen a small rise in numbers, here in Western Australia our state government is now looking to reduce Great White Shark numbers. What is the point in protecting an endangered species if when a slight recovery may be taking place a reduction of numbers is pursued in the interest of appeasing local businesses, tourism and pure and simple vote hunting?

We granted these Sharks protection 14 years ago after they where brought to the brink of extinction due to Jaws fueled paranoia and over exploitation by game fishermen and illegal fishing. Shark netting programs to protect beaches also kill large numbers of these sharks the world over and continue to do so where they are installed.

You can read more in regard to these destructive and bycatch intensive nets below.
Shark Angels are a brilliant group doing some great work in regard to this issue.
http://sharkangels.org/index.php/media/news/157-shark-nets

The single most significant threat facing Great White Sharks and Sharks in general the world over is the black market illegal trade in Sharks fins to feed demand for Shark Fin Soup. This illegal industry is rivaled in profit only by the global drug and arms trade and is responsible for the decimation of Shark populations worldwide.

An average of 73 million Sharks are killed per year and this figure has been estimated to possibly be as high as 104 million per year taking into account other factors such as commercial fishing bycatch Etc.

Many people often throw the “Shark fining doesn’t happen in Australia” line at me and I am here to tell you that it certainly does. As these illegal thugs empty the oceans of sharks they move into new, shark rich areas and marine sanctuaries such as the Galapagos Marine reserve in search of their illegal and highly valuable catch.
Our Western Australian Fisheries department have been monitoring Shark finners in our states North west.

At the current rate Sharks will be wiped from the oceans in only a few decades.
These predators play an absolutely vital role in our oceans as “Keystone species”.
This means they are a crucial link in the oceanic food chain and their removal would bring about the death of our oceans and consequential the death of our planets biosphere and our own race. Many people are unaware of the sharks role in regulating species which influence Phyto and zooplankton blooms,which in turn provide our Earth with 70% of our oxygen and control over 80% of carbon dioxide.

WASC Adviser and Shark Biologist, Author and Sharks for Life Founder Erik Brush published a book titled “The Sixth Extinction” which tells the non-fictional story of a dying planet earth due to the extinction of sharks and the chain reaction this would kick off.
I highly recommend purchasing and reading this book!
Below is a brief explanation from some of Erik’s brilliant work and a link to his site where you can order his books:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/erik-brush/international-explanation-shark-conservation/253332891346353
http://www.erikbrush.com

The Great Australian Bight is a feeding and probable breeding ground for these Sharks and as they mature they make their way up the coast in search of prey, honing and practicing the hunting skills these sharks are going to need to survive in maturity.

It is also thought that these Shark follow Live export vessels due to the smell of urine,blood and faeces trailing the ships as they traverse the Great Australian Bight on the way to Fremantle to finish loading before heading across Indian Ocean to their destination.
These ships do dump deceased animals ( after being ground up and jettisoned) and Sharks are known to be able to identify ships and vessels by noises and smells.
Great White Sharks would regularly trail Western Australia’s SW whaling vessels and you can read more of this here: http://www.wascgroup.com/?page_id=63

As i write this news has come to light that drumlines have been redeployed this morning and the hunt for this Shark continues. This is despite the fact that these Sharks are known to travel vast distances in a matter of hours and though some Great White Sharks do show some site fidelity in certain locations, this shark is quite likely over 120km’s away.
Lisa Clack Shark Response unit spokeswomen herself stated at the last press release I attended that these Sharks can cruise at an average speed of around 4km’s per hour, though stats on this vary.

WASC would like to acknowledge the approach taken by the Western Australian Fisheries department in regard to the proposed killing of this Shark. For the first time we are seeing and hearing both Spokesman Tony Cappelutti and Lisa Clack state that the Shark may not even be found let alone killed if caught.

Should a Great White Shark be caught WASC and other conservation groups both nationally and internationally will rally in opposition and shine an international spotlight on this disgraceful policy.

However should the State Fisheries Department change their focus and operations from a “Catch and kill order” perspective to a “Catch and Tag order” operation we would be fully supportive and commend the change as a step in the right direction.

Western Australians for Shark Conservation are not opposed or against W.A Fisheries but opposed to the slaughter of endangered Sharks.

At the end of the day the problem here in Western Australia boils down to the decision makers in power, Premier Colin Barnett, Fisheries Minister Troy Buswell and Director General Stuart Smith.

Our State Fisheries Department exists to ensure the continued survival and biodiversity in our states waters and their motto is “Fish for the future”. Sadly that motto has become somewhat of a joke since the introduction of this policy.

Fisheries have previously sought to euthanize the Shark using what is called a smokie, which is essentially a tube which discharges a shotgun round when pushed against a Sharks head. For the first time we have today heard their spokesman state that though a catch and kill order has been enacted, the decision of whether or not to kill the shark will be due to consideration and yet to be decided. These hunts issued under the “imminent Threat Policy” have been shown to be a fruitless waste of funding and taxpayers dollars yielding no results and catching undesired/bycatch species.

They are completely ineffective as a method of shark attack mitigation. These sharks are worth far more alive than dead and tagging is preferable to killing an IUCN red listed species. It is also more effective. So fisheries may tag the Shark, or possibly other sharks which may be caught.One can only hope, because killing the, or a Shark is not going to achieve any thing apart from further hinder the recovery of Great White Sharks.

It goes without saying dead sharks don’t yield tracking data.
Sharks are in massive trouble globally with 90% of the Sharks present in our oceans 3-4 decades ago now gone.

We need to protect life on both sides here and education alone has been shown to be the best shark mitigation method available. At the end of the day it is their kingdom and we must accept the risks we take when entering the water.

Please Support us and contact the relevant Ministers using the details listed below. Request the Kill Order be rescinded and the “Imminent Threat Policy” repealed.
Efforts to tag and expand the Shark Monitoring Network be escalated.
Request that funding be used for research and not the killing of this Protected and Endangered species.
Influential factors in regard to White Shark presence:

Recovering whale population and migration
Seasonal Fish spawning and congregations
Passing Orcas force Great White Sharks to take refuge in coastal waters.
Seal colonies
River mouths ( particularly during incoming or outgoing tidal activity)
Oceanic currents/ La Nina and El Nino weather cycle/ global warming
http://marinewaters.fish.wa.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/V4-01-Leeuwin-Current-InDepth.pdf

There are many potential factors which could be influencing Great White Shark and shark activity off of our coast but at the end of the day…Sharks live in the ocean! It’s their home not ours.

Contact details for relevant officials:

Mail: Department of the Premier and Cabinet, 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
EMail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au
Phone number: 6552 5000
http://www.premier.wa.gov.au/MINISTERS/Pages/Default.aspx

Honorable Colin Barnett MEc MLA
Premier; Minister for State Development; Science

Address:
1 Parliament Place, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: (08) 6552-5000
e-Mail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au

Honorable Troy Buswell BEc MLA

Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Fisheries

Address: 13th Floor, Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: (08) 6552-6400
e-Mail: Minister.Buswell@dpc.wa.gov.au

Thank you for your time and support.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson
enquiries@wascgroup.com
Great White with Target Circle on It

YOUNG CONSERVATIONISTS CALL FOR END OF AUSTRALIAN LONG LINING

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YOUNG CONSERVATIONISTS CALL FOR END OF AUSTRALIAN LONG LINING

Western Australians for Shark Conservation is fortunate to enjoy a wonderfully counter supportive relationship with Sea Shepherd Perth.
For me this is where my conservation journey began some years ago.

I was delighted to be in the company of my friends and supporting the worlds most effective conservation group last Sunday ( 26/10-13) in Perth city as a participating stall in the CCWA Eco-Week Festival at the Perth Cultural Center.

I decided I would spend some time mingling and talking, handing out Operation Relentless tour flyers, elaborating on the event and recruiting people to attend, then moving on to discuss the effects of long lining and gathering signatures for our collaborative postcard petition (which can be found on this webpage) and handing them a WASC sticker.
I found that the majority of people at the festival where keen to learn of and maybe even support or join the many causes and not for profits participating.
Although surrounded by like minded folks and environmentally conscious consumers, I found that very few were aware of the inadequacies, criminality and agenda behind the Barnett born “Imminent Threat Policy”.

Next generation volunteers Ayla Hayes and Zoe Hodgson are both very passionate young conservationists, studying Marine Science at their schools and helping out at events and stalls. The girls where keen to help gain signatures for our joint anti long lining campaign with the Blue Seals, Australian Seabird Rescue and Blue Starfish.
Zoe and Ayla managed to have almost an entire box of these postcards signed in a matter of hours!

These postcards will be personally delivered to Environment Minister Greg Hunt in January next year, complete with Long line wrapped entirely around them.
If you would like to order some of these postcards or participate in this campaign please view the following link:

http://www.wascgroup.com/?page_id=500

Both young activists are very much aware of the threat posed to our oceans through habitat destruction, species decline, ocean acidification and the many other factors bringing our oceans closer and closer to the brink of death.

WASC would like to acknowledge the fine efforts of these two young girls and junior conservationists around the world, for they are the future of this ever so important movement.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson

Ayla and Zoe“We wouldn’t allow our endangered wildlife to be killed like this on the land, so why is it OK in our oceans?”
Zoe Hodgson 13 (left)

“In my personal opinion I believe that longline fishing should be banned in Australia because it takes the lives of many endangered species. Many of these are in serious danger of becoming extinct!”
Ayla Hayes 13 (right)

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Common sense prevails. Cape Arid Kill Order rescinded.

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W.A Fisheries Department rescinds Cape Arid Kill Order.

The catch an kill order issued under the “Imminent Threat Policy” was yesterday (9-10-13) rescinded. This decision being made by Director General of the Western Australian Fisheries Department Stuart Smith and a press conference later held by Shark Response Unit Spokeswoman Lisa Clack.

Ms Clack explained that the Catch and Kill order had been rescinded due to the Shark not being caught or sighted for 24 hours and stating the Department believed the risk to the public to be minimal and passed due to the remoteness of the location.

This Catch and kill order was initiated, according to Mr Smith because it was school holidays and the safety of the public could not be guaranteed on such a remote area of coastline!

This is despite the fact that this area of coastline can only be accessed by four wheel Drive and lies approximately 180km’s East of Esperance.

I really do find it hard to believe that school aged children may be able to make it to this location without being driven there by their parents, and what responsible parent is going to allow their children to frequent this particularly dangerous section of coastline on their lonesome or in lieu of news of a Shark attack in the area ? The incident site is also located a number of Kilometers out to sea.

The use of Kill orders and attempts to catch and kill these endangered Great White Sharks offer the public no greater protection. It goes without saying that dead Sharks can not be tagged and studied or tracked by the state’s Shark monitoring network.
Which unlike catch and kill orders is effective in mitigating shark and human encounters.
Ocean using members of the public being able to inform themselves through the use of mobile phone applications and websites of the latest sightings or beach closures before choosing to undertake a particular activity such as diving,swimming,surfing and so on.

What is missing from the headlines in regard this latest incident is that of this divers risk acceptance.

Greg Pickering is a veteran of the Abalone diving industry and an experienced Champion Spear fishermen. He survived a separate shark attack incident while spearfishing off of Cervantes in 2004. A friend ( Dave Schoefield) of Mr Pickering has confirmed that he had stated “I should probably start using a safety cage” in conversation after the death of a friend ( Peter Clarkson) whilst Abalone diving in Coffin Bay South Australia in 2011.
Mr Pickering is an ocean loving individual of strong character and had choose to continue the work he loves without protective equipment or available safety devices.

There are now fresh calls from Abalone divers for a cull of Great White Shark numbers because “Their numbers have just increased too much”.

This is despite wildlife experts such as Peter Shaunessy ( an honorary research associate with the S.A Museum) again clarifying as many other experts have, that there is no definite sign of increased Great White shark activity in the area.
Migrating whales are also a factor but there is zero credible evidence to definitively confirm an increased presence on our coast during their migration South.
Though the Great Australian bight and Southern Ocean are known to be inhabited by Great White Sharks.
Since the very beginning of all this, numerous notable Shark experts have reiterated the fact that it is genetically and physically impossible for the numbers of Great White Sharks to have significantly increased since the introduction of their protection in Australia in 1999.

Abalone Divers and Spear fishermen are acutely aware of the risk’s they take when undertaking these activities and by choice place themselves in the highest possible risk category for possible Shark attack.

Catch and Kill Orders initiated under the Imminent Threat Policy achieve no level of risk reduction or improved safety and will in fact only serve to hook and possibly kill the first unsuspecting marine animal that takes the bait. Whether that be an endangered and protected Great White Shark that was not associated with the incident at all or any number of other marine species  (protected, endangered or not) which may be caught as bycatch on these drumlines.

Like any other W.A beach going citizen they should be considered to be accepting the very remote risk of shark interaction the moment they enter the water.

It is plain to see that the use of these Kill Orders is politically motivated rather than an effort to further improve or assure public safety.

Colin Barnett’s media delivered public scare campaign is aimed at giving the general public without Shark knowledge the perception that these sharks are man eating machines, lurking in large numbers off of our coast.This could not be further from the truth. Whilst some minor increase in population is likely as mentioned before it is genetically impossible for these sharks to have significantly increased in numbers since their protection.

Mr Barnett owns large shares in media and has colleagues and friends in high places.
This and the media’s “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story” approach is the reason for the overly exaggerated shark stories on the news.

The “Imminent Threat Policy” is simply aimed at appeasing Western Australian businesses and voters not assuring your safety in the water.

Please view and sign our petition at the below link:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/742/274/738/

Thank you for your support.

Ross Weir
WASC Founder and Spokesperson.
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Abalone Diver involved in second Shark incident- W.A Fisheries Department reacts with another Kill Order. .

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Abalone Diver involved in second Shark incident-  W.A Fisheries Department reacts with another Kill Order.

There has been an incident involving an Abalone Diver and Shark this morning approximately 180km’s East of Esperance near Poison Creek as reported by Perth Now in the link following.

The 55 year old experienced Diver Greg Pickering was injured by what is speculated to be Great White Shark at around 10:25am and was taken ashore before being airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital for treatment of significant injuries to the abdomen face and arms.

The State Fisheries Department has responded by issuing a “Kill Order” approved by Director General Stuart Smith.
Fisheries Shark Response Unit members have deployed Drumlines at the incident site in an attempt to catch and kill the Protected Great White Shark but no Shark has been sighted or caught as of yet.

There has been no mention of whether or not this particular Diver was utilising available Shark deterrent and attack mitigation devices such as a Diver Safety Cage ( which allows for abalone diving within the safe confines of a small propeller driven cage) Shark Shield anklet or the recently developed UWA Shark deterrent wetsuit.
Worse still this particular Diver has been involved in a prior incident and yet still did not choose to invest in any of these devices.

In today’s day and age one would think that risk management and preventative measures in regard to possible incidents form some form of OH&S plan whilst being employed with a company as an Abalone Diver.
Shark activity is a known in the Esperance area during this time of year and Abalone divers are acutely aware of the risks associated with their work.

WASC would like to ask the following question:
Why are these Divers who choose to put themselves in a position of high risk not utilising  prevention and safety methods?
We have an ongoing situation where our State Government is willing to carry out Kill orders under the “Imminent Threat Policy” prior to and following these attacks and remove a Great White Shark/Sharks from the equation despite being more endangered than the Tiger with as few as 3500 remaining in the Oceans.
These ancient Sharks are crucial to the survival of our oceans. They have survived on this planet for over 450 million years, through 5 mass extinction events and today scientists estimate that we may loose them within a few decades.
If we loose these Sharks we loose the Oceans. The oceanic food web will be irreparably damaged. Simple.
Here In Western Australia we have a Shark Response Unit well equipped with the vessels, equipment, better methods than the likes of Ocearch  or The “Shark Wranglers” and funding allocated specifically for tagging these endangered Great White Sharks, yet we are not seeing this funding used for significant tagging operations off of the Western Australian coast.

Instead we are seeing decision makers favor expensive and ineffective “Hunts” or “Kill Orders” in an attempt to be seen solving the problem and assuring public safety.

These involve the use of equipment which came to be advised against by Bond University in a study funded with State Shark Mitigation funding titled “The likely effectiveness of netting or other capture programs as a Shark mitigation strategy in western Australia”.
Drumline use being advised against for reasons such as bycatch, however utilised regardless.

Since last July the figure has stood at 30 Sharks tagged off the W.A coast with 100 Sharks tagged in operations from Port Lincoln in co-operation with the South Australian Fisheries Department.

There where two sharks tagged in mid September off the Albany coast and one was tagged in Cockburn Sound off of Kwinana around about the same time.
There are a total of 250 Great White Sharks currently tagged in Australian waters with approximately 130 in Western Australian waters.

It is also being commonly claimed that the Great White Shark has seen a boost in numbers. Though according to many Marine Biologists and research, with sexual maturity rates of around twelve to fifteen (it’s thought perhaps even seventeen) years, two year reproductive cycles and long gestation periods, it is impossible for their numbers to have significantly increased since their protection in Australia in 1993.

If these sharks are indeed here in greater numbers despite available research indicating a global decline, due to Shark Fin Soup, bycatch and other causes, then this just highlights the need for (or lack of) research and knowledge.
Further research and knowledge could be used to ensure preservation of the species and develop more effective prevention measures using new information that may be obtained.
It is the strong opinion of many Shark Biologists and experts with which I have spoken amongst the national and international conservation community that Education, Research and Prevention are and have been shown previously to be far more effective means of mitigating Shark incidents than killing or culling.
Please Support us and contact the relevant Ministers using the details listed below. Request the Esperance Kill Order be rescinded and the “Imminent Threat Policy” repealed. Efforts to tag and expand the Shark Monitoring Network be escalated.
Request that funding be used for research and not the killing of this Protected and endangered species.
Western Australians for Shark Conservation thank you for your support.
WASC Founder and Spokesperson.
Ross Weir 

Mail: Department of the Premier and Cabinet, 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
EMail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au
Phone number: 6552 5000
http://www.premier.wa.gov.au/MINISTERS/Pages/Default.aspx

Honorable Colin Barnett MEc MLA
Premier; Minister for State Development; Science

Address:
1 Parliament Place, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: (08) 6552-5000
e-Mail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au

Honorable Troy Buswell BEc MLA

Treasurer; Minister for Transport; Fisheries

Address: 13th Floor, Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: (08) 6552-6400
e-Mail: Minister.Buswell@dpc.wa.gov.au

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/19095403/shark-barrier-for-busselton/
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