A recent shark-culling law passed in Western Australia has left numerous communities all over the world fuming. This is particularly evident in South Africa, where a protest was held to challenge the fact that South African sharks are amongst those being culled by the Australian government. In all fairness, however, most protesters agree that it doesn’t matter which waters the sharks come from, culling of any kind should be illegal. Not only does the culling pose a threat to already-endangered species of shark, it also affects the economy, as shark cage diving operators bring a significant amount of revenue into the country.

As a world leader in shark research, South Africa is sure to be very heavily affected by the decrease in shark populations. While culling is illegal in these waters, the new Australian law came about after a spurt of attacks in 2011. The current global consensus is that decisions made and laws passed regarding any and all shark culling should not be made without consulting the global oceanic environment. Shark conservationists are particularly concerned about the implications that this law will have on shark populations, especially the Great White, as it is already an endangered species.

The recent Mining Indaba, held at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre, was attended by Western Australia’s premiere, Colin Barnett. As the man who implemented the shark “catch and kill” policy, he was the target of the group of protesters gathered outside the Convention Centre. Their main aim was to deliver a message of importance to him – that shark culling has more to do with people than with sharks. When looking at the statistics, the number of shark attacks and deaths resulting from them are, in essence, minimal and isolated.

The presence of this particular group of demonstrators at the Mining Indaba came as quite a surprise to attendees. However, the protest’s occurrence highlighted a crucial fact – the implications of shark culling extend far beyond Western Australia, and will, without a doubt, have a negative effect on the rest of the world. With people in South Africa (and globally) relying on the existence of sharks to promote incomes and job creation, as well as the global oceanic community relying on sharks as an integral member of the sea’s ecosystem, the current spate of cullings could be disastrous.

At the end of the day, sharks play an integral part in maintaining balance in the ocean. With so many dangers such as pollution and oil spills already having such a big impact on sea creatures, the conservation of sharks is extremely important. Without them, our oceans will suffer, and the “catch and kill” policy will end up doing more harm than good.

Have a look at some pictures from the anti-culling protest below. All images are courtesy of Dave Caravais from Shark Bookings:

Protesters outside CTICC

Shark-culling protestors hold up signs outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Shark protestors

Police ensure safety and stability during the anti-culling protest at the Mining Indaba.

Anti-culling protestors

A large group of protestors let their voices be heard in Cape Town’s city centre.

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