By Sea Shepherd France President, Lamya Essemlali and Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director, Jeff Hansen
Victory in French Reunion Island for Sharks – update from Lamya Essemlali
The Council of State for Reunion Island has sent the mayor of Saint Leu, Thierry Robert, back on the ropes after another victory for Sea Shepherd, Longitude 181, and ASPAS.
Mayor Thierry Robert had previously issued a decree authorising the fishing of Bull Sharks along the coast of Saint Leu. Sea Shepherd partnered with Longitude 181 and ASPAS to challenge the mayor’s decree in court. The Administrative Tribunal overturned the decree, suspending the killing of sharks in Saint Leu commune area, inside the protected zones of the marine reserve.
With unwarranted confidence, the mayor appealed to the Council of State to overturn the verdict. Not only did the Council of State uphold the decision of the Administrative Tribunal, but condemned the mayor to pay 3,000 Euros in damages to each of our organisations for his ineptitude and the “inappropriate and disproportionate” nature of his measure.
Needless to say that the public funds of the inhabitants of Saint Leu should be spent to improve their own lives, rather than funding their stubborn mayor’s little vendettas, forcing his citizens pay the price of his ineptitude. This decision by the Council of State comes at a time when, in Australia, an unprecedented people’s movement is rising in support of sharks. Indeed, if the handling of this shark crisis at the Reunion Island appears to be catastrophic, the Australian government has managed to go even further along the path of insanity.
After the death of a surfer in West Australia last November, the State has decreed the outright killing of every Bull Shark, Tiger Shark and Great White Shark of over three metres long, spotted near the coast. On Saturday the 4th of January, the first demonstration was organised, gathering several thousands of people on the beach, demanding that the State abandon these measures. At the same time, a team of lawyers are studying the legality of the measure. The Great White Shark is a rare and protected species. Sea Shepherd Australia is on the front line of this opposition movement against the planned slaughter of these top predators; architects of the oceans for millions of years, now vulnerable and whose populations are dropping severely.
Shark Kill Date Pushed Back / Barnett is caught out on his rush to kill protected species - update from Jeff Hansen
The Barnett's government has come unstuck in its rush to cull protected, red-listed, Great White Sharks off the Western Australian (WA) coast. Sea Shepherd Australia, along with the Australian Greens, had been investigating the tender process with a gut feeling that something was not adding up. It turns out that the tender was advertised on 23rd of December 2013 and submissions closed on the 3rd of January 2014, which is six working days. However, the tender website (http://www.ssc.wa.gov.au/policies01.asp?id=42) clearly states that, “The tender advertising period must be for a minimum of ten working days.”
Greens South Metro MLC Lynn MacLaren says the Barnett government’s shark drum-lining and killing tender was not advertised properly and could open the government to legal action.
“This comes as further proof of the government’s ill-thought-out approach to shark hazard mitigation,” Ms. MacLaren said.
“Not only did the Premier ignore numerous key stakeholder groups effected by this appalling policy before he announced it – ranging from ignoring the organisers of the Rottnest swim to WA’s shark fishing industry and shark scientists – it also appears that he has botched the tender process.”
The Barnett government is throwing all caution to the wind in a bid to kill a protected species off the WA coast. They are ignoring the science, the wishes of the victim’s families, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. However, the good news is that the WA government's shark cull policy has already hit a hurdle. The successful tenderer for the contract was expected to begin the first phase of the program this Friday the 10th of January. However, announcement of the contract is not expected until next week. Deputy Premier Kim Hames said that while the aim had been to begin deploying gear to catch sharks on January 10th, this might not be possible.
It’s imperative at this critical time that we keep the pressure on. Please continue to contact your local Members of Parliament. Sea Shepherd is committed to defending sharks globally; for an ocean without sharks is a planet without people. Sharks maintain the balance and health of our precious marine ecosystems that provide us with up to 80% of our oxygen. Any attack on nature is an attack on future generations and on ourselves. It’s high time that our governments represent future generations and give sharks the respect and protection they deserve.