Thousands protest vs Western Australian government’s shark culling programme

courtesy: Reuters/NETWORK TEN
courtesy: Reuters/NETWORK TEN

Thousands of people protested at various beaches across Australia on Saturday (February 1) to voice opposition to the Western Australian Government’s controversial shark culling programme.

Up to 6,000 people gathered at Cottelsoe Beach in Perth holding up placards and chanting “rights, rights, rights for great whites.”

At Manly, one of Sydney’s surfing beaches, about 2,000 people turned up to show support for the sharks.

“We are surfers, we are divers, we walk the beach, we love the beach, we love the ocean, we know the risks. Leave the sharks alone,” said an unidentified protester.

Others chanted “save our sharks, save our sharks.”

Under the catch-and-kill policy, introduced by Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett in January, baited drum lines are dropped off shore at the states most popular beaches. Only sharks three metres or more are to be caught and killed and dumped several kilometres out to sea.

“We’ve been saying all along that this policy won’t work. Drum lines are indiscriminate killers, they’ll kill sharks whether they’re two metres, one metre, three metres or more. As well as dolphins and turtles and other things. That’s why the community doesn’t want it and what’s amazing is that so many people in Australia loves sharks. This has demonstrated, I think, something about our national psyche. That despite Jaws, despite all the fear, people are coming out in thousands across the country to say, you know what, that’s their ocean, we respect them, we love them, we don’t want them killed and hopefully Colin Barnett got the message today,” said Kate Faehrmann for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said.

“They didn’t explore other means of controlling the situation and what makes them so powerful and so important that they can, with a few words take out a very special, incredible ancient marine animal form our oceans. An animal that is protected. This is what I’d like to say theWestern Australian government, your stupid,” said Australian marine conservationist, Valerie Taylor.

The culling programme was introduced after seven fatal shark attacks in the state in the last three years.