Friday, September 28, 2012

Death to Sharks

The Western Australian government will kill sharks on sight.  Boats and helicopters will aid the attack on sharks.  After attacks on people this year, this is the official response.

The edict is ill-timed for sharks.  Sharks are already hammered by multiple human forces including the deadly shark fin soup, which scientists estimate accounted for millions of shark deaths last year.

In the nearby western Indian Ocean, the French government there went one step farther to ensure sharks were killed.  They put a price -- a backward bounty -- on sharks so that tourists could bathe freely.

Meanwhile, great whites, the targeted species in Australia, are considered  protected in some parts of Australia.  In the US, the Pacific great white may be listed as endangered.

What's more, targeting sharks does not even work.  Christopher Neff, a shark-attack researcher at the University of Sydney in Australia, said that statistics and an ineffective decade long cull in Hawaii prove that 'shark hunts just don't work to reduce the number of attacks,'" according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.  

The good news is that most people consider the death-to-sharks approach the wrong one. 

According to the real-time poll on the NBC news site, 60% of respondents do not agree with pre-killing great whites Down Under saying "we're the ones entering their habitat; we should assume there will always be a risk."

George Burgess, curator of the University of Florida's International Shark Attack File, used the words "archaic" and "sad",  according to NBC News.

Conquering and fighting nature brought us to where we are now, and most people agree, we have messed up nature pretty badly.  We won, but spoiled the spoils.

How about connecting with nature rather than conquering it?  Sharks are important top predators that are key to healthy oceans, and healthy oceans mean healthy people.  There must be another way.

image: universal studios