Support our sharks


The thing with power is this: If you feel like you don’t have any, you try to get it in any way you can.

Don’t believe me?

The next time you’re in a coffee shop and you hear a toddler in the midst of an epic tantrum, look around. I bet you anything the kid is bored and wants to leave as soon as possible. They’re probably slouched in their chair, flicking their feet towards the coffee table, food and babycinos splotched all over themselves. Kids fucking hate cafes. And who can blame them, they’re always full of screaming kids.

Anyway anyway, I digress.

I asked the cool kids over at the Facebook page for this blog for some ideas about what I could write about this week. One of the suggestions came from a photographer buddy of mine.

“Support our sharks!”

It seemed like a decent idea to me.

Because there’s a bit of a power struggle going on in the waters.

We’ve got the vicious creatures plotting destruction and savagery in one corner, and in the other, we have sharks.

Credit: Images by TLP

Sharks, that live and hunt in the ocean. Which we know about. It’s not a surprise to any of us, that as sea creatures, sharks actually really do live in the ocean. And they really do hunt their food in the ocean. And they have big teeth, and lots of them, which means that they are predators. They hunt for their food, and then they eat it.

Then we have some very clever souls who have looked at this pattern of behaviour and made a policy that basically says that sharks over 3 metres in length and within a kilometre of popular beaches are fair game to capture and kill.

Well, der. If the beach is popular, why wouldn’t a shark want to go there? Sharks just want to be cool, too – you know, seen in all the right places.

tlp_shark2Amongst all of the justifications for this policy, I’ve seen repeated statements about the importance of human life. That human life has to be the top priority. That humans need to be kept safe.

You know what would be safe?

Funding education and research into shark behaviours and patterns. Continued development and testing of deterrent and shark-spotting systems – that would be safe. Public education about the risks associated with entering the water. Education and research into the preferred habitats of the sharks.

You’d be able to bluff your way into Abbott’s good books by saying that the increase in shark attacks is because there are more sharks. You could carry on about spikes in population and breeding cycles. But it would be rubbish.

And while rubbish is fueling the current Australian government, it’s reality that needs to spoken.

Abbott tells us that the ABC is biased in their reporting, however if you want to take a chance on believing the information the ABC puts forth, you’d read this:

Certainly, the threat to public safety appears to be increasing over the last few years due to the increased number of shark attacks off our coasts. It has been argued that the cause of this relates to an increase in the numbers of sharks, and presumably, an increase in the population size. However, there is no evidence that this is the case, as indicated in a 2013 report on the recovery of white sharks by the Australian Government.

This is perhaps not surprising, given that they are slow growing, late maturing and produce few offspring, so it takes many years for them to recover from exploitation. An alternative, and more plausible explanation of the increased shark attacks, is the increasing number of people spending time in our coastal waters. Reflecting the population increase and Australian’s love of the coast, more people are surfing, kite surfing, diving, canoeing, and so on, leading to an increasing number of encounters with a shark.

The first shark was culled on Australia Day.

She’d been snared on a drum line, and was trapped with a hook through her mouth for up to twelve hours. The shark killer then dragged her onto his boat. He shot her, four times. He shot her four times in the head. Then she was gutted. Then she was dragged out to sea, and dumped.

Bravo. The cull is going along swimmingly.

I have to say it: I’m ashamed to be an Australian under Abbott’s regime.

If you want to ask our government to look at alternatives to culling sharks, there are a few ways to do it.

You can check out this site, or this Facebook page.

The way I see it, at the moment we have a government in place who is throwing tantrums at every opportunity, trying desperately to prove they have power. There is power in using your voice. There is power in saying that you aren’t happy with things. There is power in writing letters and attending protests and finding out for yourself what the facts really are when it comes to shark culling.

Because if we’re going to fight for the rights of whales and dolphins, we can’t promote the slaughter of a third sea creature.








2 responses »

  1. What about the rights of factory farmed animals? Or is that ok because you like the taste? Where is the greater suffering?

    Would you live in the bush at constant exposure to fatal snake bits and mosquitoes and ticks and leeches? Or would you live in a house? The line of human environment and animal environment is something defined by humans. So the argument that it’s the shark’s environment isn’t valid. Your house used to be the environment of other creatures. Don’t you think there’s an inconsistency in the argument?


    • Hi freedomsmoker,

      I don’t support factory farming, I grew up in a very rural area – on a farm, actually – and was constantly spending time with different bites and creatures. Do I live in a house? Yes, indeed I do.

      But I don’t see how this deems my argument invalid or inconsistent.

      I think that the greater issue is that lack of respect for other living creatures. It’s shocking when sharks do attack. Awful. Yet funnily enough, there are shark attack survivors who are some of the fiercest opponents to this current cull.

      It is most likely that at one point, my home was indeed the environment of other creatures – and to be honest, there are times when it still is. Perhaps again the consistent line here, is balance.

      You’ve got some interesting ideas and I look forward to reading more of your blog.



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