Friday, December 14, 2018

Sharks


Bull Sharks, bronzies and great whites
Stripy tigers in the night
A hammerhead in full flight
A wobbie slinking out of sight

With razor teeth and fearsome bite
Sharks can cause great fear and fright
But their streamlined awesome might
Is cause for wonder and delight

Many sharks are killed on sight
And their future is not bright
But killing them is not alright
And saving sharks is worth a fight 



I love sharks!  They scare the hell of me but they are wonderful. You can mitigate the risk of being attacked by a shark but the risk is always there.  I am hyper-aware of sharks when snorkelling in Spencer Gulf. I have seen the 5.5 m cast of Shaka the shark in the Port Pirie Visitors Centre. At any moment I know she will emerge from the depths with jaws agape. Perhaps I should do something safer. Like drive to Adelaide. 70 people have been killed on the roads in South Australia this year. A few years ago there was a fatal shark attack in South Australia. 

What we struggle with is the illusion of safety.  There is no evidence that shark culling improves swimmer safety. The removal of 10s of thousands of sharks from Queensland and NSW waters has not secured swimmer safety. Shark attacks still occur despite the decline in some cases of greater than 90% of some species of sharks.  But voters need to be reassured and we can’t afford to scare away the tourists so we persist with bad policies. There are other options. We can use drone surveillance, we can use sonar detectors, we can use shark- shields and, if we are really scared of sharks, we can keep out of the sea. It’s not just a question of culling or not culling because we like sharks or don’t like them. The collapse of the population of apex predators will lead to the collapse of marine ecosystems and fisheries.  That's a disaster and it’s already happening. We live in a world where decisions are made on emotion and belief. We need evidence based decision making. We need politicians to accept the advice of experts and we need to educate the general public. A political party with a Policy of shark protection will get my vote every time.


Friday, November 2, 2018