Tiger Shark Cull

Little Support for Shark Culling

Following another fatal shark attack in Australia, new research finds little support for the shark cull.

A survey of 583 aquarium visitors asked people how they thought the Government should respond to shark bites and found that despite the public’s fears, 87 per cent favoured non-lethal responses.

Only four per cent of those surveyed supported the hunting of sharks.

Another key finding was that only 2-4 percent blamed the Government and only slightly more (6-8 percent) blamed the sharks. Most responsible were thought to be either the swimmer or simply no-one.

Conducted by University of Sydney Lecturer Dr Christopher Neff and funded by the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund, the survey is the first research of its kind. Dr Neff stated, “These responses show that there is little support for government measures that kill sharks and that the public does not blame governments when these tragedies occur.”

“The Australian public is ready for some new options” said Claudette Rechtorik, Director of the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund. She added, “The findings from this data are consistent with what we hear every day. After 77 years of shark culling in New South Wales it is time to consider something else. We…believe the research is important for policymakers to consider given that it suggests that the Government should respond to shark bites with greater public education and non-lethal shark culling measures.”

The research comes as Western Australia seeks to extend its shark cull policy by three years.

Based on state figures released in March, the WA shark cull policy has killed 41 sharks of which 95% were tiger sharks. The sharks ranged in size from 1.7 m (a Mako) to 4.1 m. Ten were already dead: killed by the drum lines. The rest were destroyed. The government has not released any information on the numbers of other animals killed by the drum lines.

Photo credit: Albert Kok

Jill Studholme

By Jill Studholme. Jill edits SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011), the monthly newsletter with articles on diving and marine science.She tweets as @SCUBANews. You can find her on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+JillStudholme/.

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