Save our sharks

The Western Australian Government has announced a plan to cull sharks. Help us stop the cull. This is an ineffective, expensive and emotional response to a tragic but very rare event.
Stop the cull in WA


The Western Australian Government has announced a plan to cull sharks. Help us stop the cull. This is an ineffective, expensive and emotional response to a tragic but very rare event. Shark bites are extremely unlikely to occur, with the government’s own research showing that Western Australians have less than one in a million chance of being killed by a great white shark. 

What can I do?
• Please sign our petition or download the hard copy, and call on the Government of Western Australia to rethink its plans to bait and kill sharks. If you live in WA, let your local MP know you don’t support shark culling!
• Donate today to keep the pressure on and stop sharks and other wildlife from being killed.
• Join our email list to stay updated on our shark campaign, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

More information about the cull
What has the WA Government got planned?
The Government of Western Australia has announced a shark cull program. Their plan includes setting baited hooks called drum lines in the waters off Perth and the South-West to catch large sharks. They have now been set in the South-West WA. The government will also hire professional shark hunters to patrol these areas and kill large sharks, specifically great white, tiger and bull sharks over three metres long, in authorized ‘kill zones’. The first shark was a female tiger shark which was caught and killed off Meelup Beach, near Dunsborough in the South West on Australia Day, 2014. This caused widespread public distress as graphic video footage was revealed which showed the female tiger shark being shot four times in the head before she died and was towed out to sea. Great white sharks are listed as vulnerable and migratory under federal threatened species legislation. The drum lines also have the potential to catch many other shark species, including the critically endangered grey nurse shark as well as dolphins and other threatened species. 

Alternatives to the cull
Alternatives to the cull already exist and are being employed or are under development. Surf Lifesavers monitor our popular beaches around the country during the surf life saving season. They have excellent programs that provide detection and education. Aerial spotting with helicopters and light planes also works effectively for popular beaches in WA. A program has also been developed on the social media platform Twitter, where tagged sharks “tweet” their location as they swim past underwater detectors. This is a good way of detecting sharks and studying their movement patterns across the WA coast. Researchers funded by the WA government are also looking into predicting shark sightings through environmental patterns, using strobe lights and bubble curtains, and detecting sharks using sonar. Many of these methods improve our knowledge of sharks, and since so many of these magnificent species are under threat, findings aid in conservation efforts as well. Learn more…

What does the public think?
A poll released in late January 2014 shows that 80% of Australians are opposed to the government’s plans. It reveals that most people don’t fear shark attacks, do feel safe in the sea and don’t support killing them in an attempt to make beaches safer. Read more… More locally, most Western Australians are also opposed to the shark plan, with some reporting that they feel even less safe under these new measures. Read more… Rallies held around the country have attracted thousands of people opposed to the cull. An AMCS Board Member Jill St John spoke at the Bunbury rally in Western Australia on Saturday 1 February. Read her speech here. Our Marine Campaigner Pam Allen spoke at the Burleigh rally in Queensland (pictured below).

Why are sharks already under threat?
With up to an incredible 73 million sharks killed every year, predominantly for their fins, it’s no wonder that the IUCN has assessed that one-third of all open ocean shark species are threatened with extinction. Huge and increasing demand for shark fins gives sharks the dubious privilege of being amongst the most valuable animals in the sea; it has also made them the most vulnerable.

Why are sharks important?
Sharks are considered ‘keystone species’, which means that as top predators, they are extremely important in maintaining the balance in marine ecosystems. Removing too many sharks from an ecosystem can lead to a monumental shift in the equilibrium between predators and prey all the way through the food chain. Although there are well over 1,000 different species of sharks swimming our blue planet, this diverse group is generally characterised by biology that makes them especially vulnerable to fishing pressure; they are often long-lived, slow growing and late to reach maturity and reproductive age. This means they take a long time to recover from over-exploitation. But the value of sharks doesn’t just lie in their body parts. Not only are sharks of priceless value to the oceans, they are also a huge revenue earner in the tourism industry. In Palau, it was estimated that a single shark brings in US$179,000 every year in tourism dollars, or a total of US$1.9 million in the life span of a single shark. The value of 100 dead sharks in both fins and flesh amounts to 0.00006% of the lifetime value of the same sharks1. With no demonstrably sustainable shark fisheries currently in operation, AMCS does not support shark culling, or targeted shark fishing, in Australia or the world. At this point in time, with no consensus on what form a sustainable shark fishery would take, AMCS continues to work to protect endangered species of sharks from the negative impacts of fishing. Biologically more like whales than fish, sharks belong in the sea.

Donate Here
Read more
• Alternatives to the cull
• WA Government’s shark research
• Shark fishing in Australia
• A word on flake
• Shark fishing in the Great Barrier Reef
• Grey Nurse Sharks
• National Plan of Action for Sharks
• Read more about the patterns and ecosystem consequences of shark declines in the ocean – 1 Vianna GMS, Meekan MG, Pannell D, Marsh S, Meeuwig J (2010) Wanted Dead or Alive? The relative value of reef sharks as a fishery and an ecotourism asset in Palau. Australian Institute of Marine Science and University of Western Australia, Perth.

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Campaign's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

Campaign Details

Group Leading this Campaign: Australian Marine Conservation Society

Who this Campaign is Targeting: Western Australian Government

Main Issue of the Campaign:

Campaign Ran From: 2014 to 2014

Campaign Outcome:

Year Outcome Assessed:

Geographic Range of Activity:


Save our sharks