66 Sharks Caught in West Australia

February 18, 2014 by dyertrust

Large sharks are facing another tragic fate at the hand of man, again, with a total of 66 sharks that have already been baited on the drumlines deployed across the west coast of Australia resultant of the Shark Mitigation Policy signed off by the Western Australian Government.Seventeenof these sharks were over the 3m kill limit and was killed and dumped out at sea. Of the 66 sharks caught, 63 were Tiger Sharks, 2 were Mako Sharks and 1 was a Black Tip.

The Shark in picture above could have been saved if BlairRanford and his team was allowed to intervene. But, even though it was a shark smaller than the kill limit, they were warned that if they interfere in any way they will be fined twenty five thousand dollars, convicted and their boat will be confiscated. This is the sad truth of where they are at present, watching sharks like these die on the baitlines.

There has, so far, been no Great White Sharks caught, but on Monday the 17th of February 2014 the authorities said they were nowtarget baiting specifically for Great White Sharks.

Western Australia has decided to catch and kill any large shark, measuring more than 3m in length. These sharks are dragged through the water, shot, and then discarded in an unknown location further out at sea.

Various debates have been formed around this event with big names in international shark conservation community coming forward and raising their concerns about the impact this will have on not only the large sharks in these waters, but also the marine eco systems. The decimation of an apex predator has a cascading trophic effect on all living organisms in its environment.

South Africa and Australia share an open population of Great White Sharks. These sharks migrate over vast distances and the famous white shark female, Nicole, was the first white shark tagged to complete a meander from the Western Cape in South Africa to the West Coast of Australia, and back.

This obviously raised the concerns about sharks that we work with and conserve in our waters, being killed as result of the Shark Mitigation Policy.

The public, conservation and scientific communities in the RSA were in anuproar after this policy was made public.

As a result there was a massgathering of shark conservationist, activists, scientists and shark lovers to the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC) on Wednesday, the 5th February, 2014.

Employees and volunteers from Marine Dynamics, Dyer Island Cruises, the International Marine Volunteers and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust joined the gathering, and voiced our concerns about this mitigation policy just as Premier Colin Barnett addressed the Mining conference on the inside of the CTICC.

There was about 60 protesters in total, including shark cage diving operators, conservation and research NGOs and some mightily important people in the realms of shark conservation.

This protest was not the only one held in South Africa, or for that matter, in the world.

1902739_731190146913600_1575043951_n 1620972_10152200683569976_1101256696_nWilfred Chivell, owner of Marine Dynamics, Dyer Island Cruises and the International Marine Volunteers and founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust rightly highlighted the following in the days preceding this event: I send my best wishes to all dedicated conservationists who will be attending this protest in Cape Town. It is wonderful that everyone can pull together at such short notice for this noble cause. However, it would be hypocritical of us not to highlight the issues within our own country, of the Kwazulu-Natal shark nets and drumlines which is responsible for the death of Great White Sharks, as well as numerous other species such as dolphins, turtles and other shark species every year. We have been silent on this issue for too long. I would like to challenge everyone supporting this protest, to carry through this passion and swell of support to find a better solution to these drumline and netting issues we face in South Africa, along our eastern coastline.

In the Western Cape there is various projects in motion as alternatives to traditional shark nets and drumlines.

One such program is Shark Spotters, a registered Non-Profit Organisation.

Shark Spotters are positioned at strategic points along the Cape Peninsula, primarily along the False Bay coastline.

A spotter is placed on the mountain with polarized sunglasses and binoculars.

This spotter is in radio contact with another spotter on the beach.

If a shark is seen near the beach the spotter sounds a siren and raises a white flag with a black shark.

SharkWaring_1

When the siren sounds the water users are requested to leave the water and only return when the appropriate all clear signals are given," reads the explanation of who and what Shark Spotters are. This team is phenomenal and is proving to be a very effective early warning system for beach goers and surfers in our waters.

Another such project is the Fish Hoek Exclusion Net Project. This project was started in March 2013 by Shark Spotters and the City of Cape Town. It provides a pro-active, environmentally friendly solution to reduce the possibility of shark incidents, giving beach goers a safe area to swim without the usual ecological threats posed by traditional shark nets.And apart from being monitored by boat, it is also monitored by Shark Spotters from a vantage point overlooking the swim safe area. Should there be any animals that get entangled in the nets, immediate deployment of a disentangling unit will suffice to save the animal with hopefully minimal injury, if any. The key is that this net is deployed and retrieved every day with the deployment times communicated to the public in advance.

Shark conservationists are constantly pointing to the success of these two programs and referring to them as an environmentally friendly approach to finding the balance and harmony between beach goers and our wonderful apex predator, the Great White Shark.

Richard Pierce is the founder of Richard Pierce Shark Conservation and board member of the Shark Conservation Society.

In 2013 Wilfred Chivell was honored for his conservation efforts by being made an honorary lifetime member of the Shark Conservation Trust.

Richard highlighted that the use of drumlines to catch sharks will also result in the attraction of more sharks to the areas where the drumlines are deployed his input in regards to this policy is included in the following video.

This #NoSharkCull gathering has proven to us all that we can work together as eco tourism ventures, conservation orientated NGOs and concerned citizens. We united to stand against the killing of sharks, and we can hopefully do so again in support of finding an environmentally acceptable manner of protecting beach goers and our precious ocean animals, firstly along the whole of our South African coastline, and secondly across the world.