Shark Stewards calls on West Australian Prime Minister to End the Shark Cull at San Francisco Consulate

Contact: David McGuire, Shark Stewards           FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(San Francisco CA 2/12/2013) San Francisco Shark Alliance Hold Shark March to Protest Australian Shark Killing by Holding Shark March

Shark Stewards calls on West Australian Prime Minister to End the Shark Cull at San Francisco Consulate

The San Francisco based non-profit Shark Stewards is joining shark and ocean advocates calling for public support to end the shark cull in West Australia. A march is planned from the Embarcadero in San Francisco February 15 to the Australian Embassy in show support for Australians opposing the cull. Shark Stewards is joined by several other ocean organizations including Australian ex-patriots and visitors protesting the cull.

In response to a series of human fatalities off the West Coast of Australia over the past few years, the Government is holding a targeted cull to remove large sharks from near shore waters.  Since its inception, 10 sharks have been killed and 21 released, many with severe hook damage. This far the cull has targeted sharks of a species not involved in the human fatalities.

“We are calling on San Francisco to show support for sharks and ocean health and stop the unsustainable “catch and kill’ of large sharks off the West Australian coastline,” said David McGuire, Director of the shark conservation group Shark Stewards.

“This is not proper fisheries management or serving public safety. The bait and kill approach is a political ploy by the West Australian Government to act as if they are doing something. There are far better management methods, beginning with altering human behavior when sharks are present,” adds McGuire.

In protest 10,000 Australians gathered at Cottolsloe Beach outside Perth over the weekend.  Shark supporters were joined by protests across Australia, New Zealand and in South Africa where WA Prime Minister Barnett is visiting.  One poll reports 80% against the cull in Western Australia.

“I’m a Shark attack survivor and I don’t support the Cull,” said Surfer and Navy Diver Pael de Geld who lost a hand and lower leg to a shark. Many species of sharks are seriously overfished and threatened by the shark fin trade.

Great White Sharks are internationally protected and are a protected species in Australia. The Western Australian government had to receive an exemption from Federal Law to conduct the shark hunt. One study estimates that 100 million sharks are killed a year just for their fins to supply the shark fin soup trade.

“This shark cull is a hopelessly ignorant task and a shamefully un-Australian endeavor. Stop playing Neptune, Mr. Barnett [WA Premier], and cease this stupidity.,” said West Australian artist and waterman Ash Nathens.

Other regions of high shark human encounters have education programs and public education and safety programs to minimize risk without killing sharks.

The Bay Area has an alert system, beach closures and a shark watch program developed by Shark Stewards to avoid encountering a shark in the water. South Africa has a well developed shark spotter program informing beachgoers how and when to avoid encountering a shark.

“Shark culls like the one conducted off West Australia must be replaced by sound and proper management methods. For a healthy ocean we need to fight for sharks,” adds McGuire.