Sharks have been active in the clear, jewel-like waters of Western Australia (WA) in recent years. In fact, there have been four shark attack fatalities in the past fourteen months. This highly unusual number spawned a recent review of the region’s shark mitigation strategies by regional officials. In the midst of the heated debate, some local politicians and residents started making suggestions for a shark cull.
Hearing this, Australian activist Ryan Kempster leapt into action. He launched a campaign to protect WA’s shark population and encourage the adoption of non-lethal control measures. Thanks to nearly 19,000 signatures on Ryan’s Care2 petition, the WA’s government took a stand against retaliatory fear this past week, investing $13.65 million into a shark response unit, further research, and swimmer education instead of destroying thousands of sharks.
“This is a fantastic outcome for public safety and shark conservation in WA,” exclaims Ryan. “The shark mitigation measures outlined by WA Fisheries Minister Moore set a benchmark for other Australian states and will place WA as a national leader in beach protection and shark conservation.”
Instead of a shark cull, the WA government will now employ such public safety measures such as increasing helicopter surveillance patrols, using shark repellant, extending blood and offal disposal bans near swimming beaches, and tagging sharks frequently sighted near popular swimming areas. There will also be additional research into shark behavior, and the Fisheries department will review local fisheries management strategies.
“On behalf of the 19,000 who signed the petition,” says Ryan, “I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Norman Moore and members of the WA cabinet for reaching such a landmark decision. This is a great day for WA sharks and shark conservation worldwide.”