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AT THE SHARK BAY SHARK SANCTUARY PROJECT

We stand for

  • The national anthem
  • A hat trick by the Aussies at a Test match
  • Little old ladies on the bus AND..
  • A state wide size limit for recreational shark fishing of 1.5metres
  • A total ban on TARGETING large sharks for sport within the Shark Bay Marine Park.
  • A change in Fisheries legislation of the definition of “possession” of a protected species so that unhooking bycatch immediately is legal, and skull dragging a shark onto the shore to be sat for selfies is not.
  • A total ban on local businesses selling any shark products that could potentially be sourced from black market suppliers (sharks teeth, shark jaws, necklaces etc).
  • Recognition of the cultural importance of Sharks in our region to the Malgana people and Saltwater nations of Western Australia.

What we WON'T stand for

  • Out of town blokes burleying sharks into our kids beaches
  • Killing or harming big sharks just for the jaws or a selfie
  • An end to recreational game fishing
  • A ban on commercial fishing
  • Stopping a bloke catching a feed for their family
  • Warm beer or cold pies
  • Kiwis claiming the pavlova (they can have Russel Crowe).

SHARK BAY SHARK SANCTUARY PROJECT

Gday Ocean Lovers. This is a project started by the community of Shark Bay. The most Western bit of Australia. Reading the map from left to right, it is where Australia starts. We are more Aussie than a dingo on a dunny with a durrie. We are country people. Fisherman, farmers, hunters, beer drinkers and four wheel drivers. Our town was named by the bloke who invented the BBQ and discovered the tiger shark.. You don’t get more Aussie than that. We have been neighbours, sharing Shark Bay with sharks for near on 20 000 years and never got our knickers twisted, but that’s about to change. Our toothy mates are under attack. Like all Aussies’s we fight for the underdog. And like any good blue, it’s good to have your mates beside you. That’s what this page is about. Our mates in the grey suits need more mates above the high tide line. We are hoping that will be you. Welcome aboard..

In the last year or two when out fishing and four wheel driving with our families at our favourite beaches we have solved a mystery of the ages! “Where’s Wally”?.. Well he and all his mates apparently have migrated here, to our backyard. It is a veritable “Wally-palooza” up here at the moment. Boofheads burleying sharks to the beaches where our kids swim, making them hungry, then releasing them with broken jaws, knackered and too tired to catch a natural feed..Why the mass mongrel migration we hear you ask?? To snap a selfie sitting on a shark.. It’s about as Aussie as kicking a quokka..

We grew up on the ocean. Before GPS. Before Kim Kardashian. Before exfoliator, chest waxing, sphinctre bleaching and before social media. The good old days. When men were men and didn’t need “likes” to prove it. Our Mums and Dads taught us how to look after our backyard so that our rug rats would always be able to have the same adventures as us. Now the ruggies and that way of life is in danger. The sharks are in danger. Our Aussie beach loving traditions are in danger and from what we can tell, It is all about ego. Please click the links and see what we are up against with these young blokes. Then please tell your mates to give us a hand to knock this for six and help us create Australia’s first Shark Sanctuary.

Help the cause by signing this petition to make a change.

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Causes of Recent Spike in Shark Trophy Hunting in Shark Bay World Heriatege Marine Park

  • Trophy hunting for large sharks in the Shark Bay World Heritage marine park is increasing exponentially. In a social media obsessed world young blokes are desperately chasing photos that show them engaged in “manly” activities. Sitting on top of a large shark gets them the attention they crave and the “likes” they need to feel validated.
  • This activity is ILLEGAL in Metropolitan and South West Western Australia, but not in our World Heritage Marine Park causing a recent increased focus on our waters by “selfie” hunters.
  • The legislation preventing targeting of sharks in Western Australia is confusing and different depending on your location (unlike QLD for instance where keeping any shark over 1.5metres is illegal statewide due to heavy metal content and importance of sharks to the ocean environment).
  • There is general ignorance amongst “selfie hunters” as to the damage done by dragging a shark onto a beach and sitting on it as because they “swim away” the “hunters” believe they have caused the animal no harm.
  • The legal “language” around “targeting”, “take” and “possession” are easily abused and at present untested in a Aussie court of law. A young man on Monkey Mia Beach, 50metres from a holiday family swimming on Dolphin beach, with a $2000 overhead spots reel, a live stingray hooked through the head for bait, a burley trail off the beach, 400pound breaking strain leader and stainless steel barbed hooks..is not whiting fishing. But he is also at present, not breaking the law.. Every month we see more of them..

This is obviously unacceptable. Here is the four main reasons we as an ocean loving Aussie community full of fisherman think this needs to stop TODAY.

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Cultural Reasons We Want a Shark Sanctuary Preventing Catch and Release and Trophy Hunting

  • The local indigenous guardians of the Guthaaragudu (Shark Bay) are the Malgana people. They call the sharks "Thaarka". Like Eddie Mabo, whose totem was the Tiger Shark, ALL the saltwater people of West Australia hold sharks and stingrays as sacred. In indigenous culture sharks and rays are respected, revered and protected. We need to do the same!
  • An attack on these animals especially during breeding season is in conflict with our indigenous lore responsibilities to protect country.
  • When we go to Uluru, out of respect to the Pitinjarra mob, we don’t climb it. When you come to Shark Bay, out of respect to our Malgana mob, you DON’T hunt sharks for “sport”.

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Ethical Reasons We Want a Shark Sanctuary Preventing Catch and Release and Trophy Hunting.

  • The use of large stingrays and eagle rays as “live” baits, not only attracts more sharks to the area but is also inhumane due to the ability of rays to experience pain.
  • Due to the unnecessary stress and pain caused to the animal.
  • The impossibility of predicting the species of shark caught means vulnerable and endangered species are often fatally hooked.
  • Due to the increased likelihood of preventable shark death and maiming (broken jaws etc) caused by the common practice of beaching the animal for selfies.
  • Sharks have no rib cage so their own body crushes their organs when beached.
  • Sharks cannot excrete “stress hormones” that build up to toxic levels during the stress endured during capture so IUCN Redlisted animals like Hammerheads are particularly vulnerable to death from sport fishing.
  • The intentional use of stainless, barbed hooks and stainless trace wire tackle poses a threat to the animals ability to feed and breed effectively in the case of break off.

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Scientific Reasons

  • Sharks are the apex guardians of Shark Bay preventing herbivores from overgrazing the seagrass meadows which are the source of all life within the Bay
  • Shark numbers globally are in exponential decline making sanctuary zones like Shark Bay vital to their survival
  • When an apex predator is removed from an ecosystem ‘ trophic collapse’ can occur causing the rapid localised extinction of all marine life
  • Over fishing of sharks has affected commercial fisheries in New Caledonia causing the collapse of the Scallop and Cockle fishery. Unregulated shark fishing caused a population explosion in their prey species (rays) who in turn over predated on the scallops and cockles leading to the collapse of a traditional commercial fishery.
  • And LASTLY.. Apex, keystone predators like sharks CAN NOT be “out of control”. Neither can they have a population “explosion”. An apex predator self regulates its numbers through cannibalism and simply through the availability of prey. Their numbers are directly related to the HEALTH of the ocean as an ecosystem. The more there are, the healthier the ocean. As our oceans produce half the world’s oxygen, healthy oceans NEED sharks.

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Economic Reasons

  • Our economy revolves around the ability to feed four wild dolphins, should more sharks than natural be ‘burlyed’ and released injured on Monkey Mia beach, the chance of attack on them increases. Trophy shark fisherman were active at Monkey Mia beach when Nicky (our oldest dolphin) went missing last year. They were also present at the same time at Herald Bight where a complaint was made to local police when they were seen trying to kill sharks with high powered crossbows.
  • Our economy relys upon the perception of Shark Bay being a “safe” location for families to swim. Should more sharks than natural be ‘burlyed’ in to our National Park campsites and then released injured then chance of attack on swimming humans increases.
  • A death of a human would affect our tourism economy negatively.
  • The death of the Monkey Mia beach dolphins would completely destroy our economy.
  • A live shark is worth exponentially more than a dead and injured one and is the largest growth industry in marine eco tourism in 2016.
  • The embracing of these animals by the broader community of Shark Bay for eco tourism and the marketing of them by our local indigenous people could, provide economic independence for our community allowing broader autonomy from the State Government.
  • In real terms the millions made from Indigenous Shark EcoToursim within the Shark Bay World Heritage Marine Park could be used to fund university scholarships, hospices for our elders, housing for families, dialysis machines,  Indigenous Ranger programs and more.

ANNUAL GROSS PROFITS FOR ECO SHARK TOURISM WORLDWIDE

Fiji Sharks US$ 42.2 million Vianna et al. 2011
Fr. Polynesia Lemon shark US$ 5.4 million Clua et al. 2011
Maldives Sharks US$ 38.6 million Martin et al. 2006
Palau Sharks US$ 18 million Vianna et al. 2012
Seychelles Sharks US$ 4.5 million Topelko and Dearden 2005
Seychelles Whale Shark US$ 4.99 million Rowat and Engelhardt 2007
South Africa Tiger Shark US$ 1.7 million Dicken and Hoskings 2009
South Africa White Shark US$ 4.2 million Hara et al. 2003
West Australia Whale Shark US$ 5.5 million Catlin et al. 2009

Caught and killed, or caught and released injured to suffer a slow death and perhaps inflict one on a human or Monkey Mia dolphin, a trophy hunters week long trip to Shark Bay makes the sharks once off value to our local economy approximately $500 (accommodation, food and fuel averaged). The RESULT of that $500 one time spend causing the maiming of a predator, could be the decimation of our tourism industry and the subsequent collapse of our economy.

The recent annexing of the World Heritage Listed Galapogas Islands Shark Sanctuary has created an influx of shark based tourists to the region. The region was annexed due to the large population of healthy sharks and recognition of it as a shark nursery essential for the greater health of global oceans. It was a virgin industry ten years ago. It is now worth $178 million dollars a year. The parallels to Shark Bay are many.

The economic logic is straightforward: Shark tourism in Palau alone as an example contributes about 39 percent of the country’s gross domestic product of $218 million. Furthermore, 21 percent of tourists chose their vacation there specifically to see the sharks, meaning that tourism to view sharks contributes about 8 percent of the areas G.D.P. The research concludes that roughly 100 sharks that inhabit the area were each worth $179,000 annually to the island nation’s tourism industry, and that each shark had a lifetime value of $1.9 million. We have thousands of sharks in the Shark Bay World Heritage Marine park.. Healthy oceans need sharks for sure, but healthy sharks also create healthy bank balances for eco-tourism communities and state economies suffering from the collapse of a mining boom.

We have already spent close to three million dollars in Shark Bay creating the most ethical shark spotting experience in the world at the Eagle Bluff and Skip Jack Point board walks on Peron Peninsula. These do not interfere with the sharks in any way. Do not involve burley, or association of vessels and divers with food as many shark experiences worldwide do. Most importantly however is that they make viewing a free swimming wild shark in the ocean an accessible and FREE eco tourism holiday experience for people of any nationality, age, weight or physical capacity and can be done 365 days a year. That alone, if marketed responsibly could create Western Australia as the world’s premier eco shark tourism destination.

 Precedents

  • Cottesloe Shire Councils legal team recently created a change to their bylaws to create shark fishing exclusion zones at Cottesloe Beach. It was done to prevent the perceived risk of litigation.
  • Essentially Cottesloe Council believe that as the law stands should a community “allow or encourage” a recreational or commercial activity that presents inherent risks to other community members and visiting beach users then the council itself (in our case our Shark Bay Shire Council or the board of RAC Monkey Mia resort) can be liable for legal action on behalf of the family involved in a shark related incident.
  • All that is required to effect this change to a local by law to protect our children, our dolphins and our economy is community support and a majority vote from Councillors during the monthly Shire Council meetings.
  • We could be protected from the possibility of litigation within weeks should we choose to follow this course of prudent preventative action.

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The image below is taken from the Cottesloe Council Bylaw amendments section 7

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