Thousands of people held protests in Melbourne and Perth on Saturday. They called on the government of Western Australia (WA) to abandon or modify a controversial shark-culling plan.
Last month the WA government announced a tender for fisherman to catch and kill any large Great White shark, a endangered and protected species, as well as Tiger or Bull sharks more than three metres long by using baited hooks.
At least six people have been killed by sharks and several more attacked in the local waters since September 2011. The plan is being put in place to protect ocean users.
“We’re better than killing wildlife in vengeance,” said one man gathered at the Melbourne rally.
“We need to use the science that’s there, to work with the science that’s there, to learn to live with these creatures instead of culling them,” he added.
Protesters claim killing sharks would devastate the marine ecosystem and the drum lines could harm animals like dolphins, turtles and fish.
Sea Shepherd Australia managing director Jeff Hansen says sharks need to be protected, not destroyed.
“When they kill a shark, they’re going to dump the body out to sea, once again bringing in more sharks. If anything, it’s going to make matters worse,” he said.
More protests are planned for next month.