Courtesy of The Independent:
This week, in response to the kind of public hysteria that should really have its own theme tune, the state government of Western Australia (WA) began killing sharks near its beaches. According to the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week website, you’re more likely to be bitten by another person than by a shark. To put things in perspective, humans kill more than 100 million sharks and billions of other sea animals every year in contrast to about 10 people killed worldwide by sharks each year.
Sharks have been around longer than dinosaurs and they play an essential role in our oceans. But today, the great white or white pointer shark is a threatened species. The WA government’s policy of catching and killing them makes a mockery of the federal government’s own White Shark Recovery Plan, which recognises that the great white shark is fully protected in both Commonwealth and WA waters.
Great white sharks are so imperiled that they are on the World Wildlife Fund’s “10 Most Wanted” list, which cites a burgeoning trade in teeth, jaws, and fins, coupled with increased commercial and sport fishing, as having pushed them into the ranks of wildlife most at risk from unregulated international trade. Sharks are particularly vulnerable because they grow and mature slowly, have long gestation periods and produce few young at a time. At least 100 species of sharks are known to inhabit WA waters. These sharks, along with dolphins, turtles and other marine life, will be at risk of serious injury and death if they are hooked on baited drum lines.