Updated: August 02, 2012
Shark nets are not the answer for WA
The Wilderness Society WA
Thursday 2 August, 2012.
“This latest spate of shark attacks has been tragic, but our government needs to act using the tools of education and awareness not with expensive and ineffective shark netting,” said Jenita Enevoldsen, Marine Conservation Officer from The Wilderness Society.
“Shark netting is ineffective for many reasons, the main one being that huge amount of protected species are caught – including seals, dolphins, fish, whales, turtles and non-target sharks. A total of 2140 turtles, 552 dugongs and 216 dolphins have been unnecessarily caught in shark nets in the Great Barrier Reef region since nets were introduced there in the late 1960s.
“The reality of the situation is that our current government is considering taking an extremely expensive and ineffective approach to this issue. We need to understand the changes we are seeing in our marine climate, and change our behaviour accordingly.
“The government should be running an awareness-raising campaign – letting people know about the changes that we are seeing in our marine environment, why white sharks are a protected species, and how to stay safe along our coastlines. Things like swimming with a buddy, having a beach watch with first aid, and having a rescue plan in place are really important.
“Marine climate change in Western Australia is a real issue. Our waters have been up to 4 degrees warmer in the last couple of years than ever recorded. This could well be affecting the migration patterns of white sharks who prefer cooler waters.
“Warmer waters may also be affecting upwelling events and fish spawning – which affects the entire food chain, so that where these sharks have in the past found their food – they may be going hungry. Further research into marine climate change could be hugely beneficial into understanding why we are seeing more sharks closer to our beaches.
For further comment:
Jenita Enevoldsen: 0405 941 500
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society WA Inc
City West Lotteries House
2 Delhi St
West Perth, WA, 6005
Phone: 08 9420 7255