Operation Apex Harmony Update – in defense of human, shark and our precious marine life; a balance future generations are relying on
It has been a very busy few months in terms of the Apex Harmony campaign, which was formally launched on the 17th July with new merchandise. The launch included a trailer to a documentary The Shark Cull, which is still being screened, with most major cities in Australia screening it on Sunday, 30th of August. The screenings have generated much needed awareness and funds to focus on the issue of nets and drum lines in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.
Additionally we have recently launched our website dedicated to this campaign which provides information on why sharks are important for our oceans and ultimately, our own survival is tied to their fate. This exciting new website also details the differences that Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have in terms of their drum lines and shark net programs.
We thank you for your continued support for this campaign and wanted to share with you the extensive behind-the-scenes-work also being conducted as part of Operation Apex Harmony.
Jeff Hansen, Managing Director for Sea Shepherd Australia has had quite a number of meetings and briefings regarding alternatives to drum lines in Western Australia which include the following:
- Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt (written briefing and phone)
- Shadow Federal Environment Minister, Mark Butler (face to face meeting with other Environment groups in attendance)
- Western Australian Premier, Colin Barnett (written briefing)
- Western Australian Fisheries Minister, Ken Baston (written briefing)
- Western Australian Environment Minister, Albert Jacob (written briefing)
- Western Australian Shadow Fisheries Minister, Dave Kelly (face to face meetings)
- Western Australian Shadow Environment Minister, Chris Tallentire (face to face meetings)
- Western Australian Senator, Rachel Siewert (face to face meetings)
- Queensland Senator, Larissa Waters (face to face meeting regarding the Queensland Shark Control Program)
- Federal Member for Fremantle, Hon. Melissa Parkes (face to face meeting)
- Member for South Metropolitan Region, Liberal Member, Hon. Phil Edman (face to face meeting)
- Member for South Metropolitan Region, Greens Member, Hon. Lynn MacLaren (face to face meetings)
- Western Australian Representative for Shooters and Fishers Party, Hon. Rick Mazza (face to face meeting)
- Liberal Member for Bateman, Matthew Taylor MP (face to face meeting)
- Fremantle Council Mayor, Brad Pettitt (face to face meetings)
- Augusta/Margaret River Shire, President Michael Smart and Vice President Lynn Serventy (face to face meeting)
- Rockingham Council Mayor, Barry Sameuls (face to face meeting)
- Cockburn Council Mayor, Logan Howlett (face to face meeting)
- Cottesloe Council Mayor, Jo Dawkins, Councillor Sally Pyvs and Councillor Jay Birnbrauser (face to face meeting)
- University of Western Australia Professor, Jessica Meeuwig (face to face meetings)
- Environmental Defenders Office Principal Solicitor, Patrick Pearlman (face to face meetings)
- Surfrider Foundation National Director, Sarah Yani Vann-Sander (face to face meeting)
- Tourism operators and NGO’s
- Surf Life Saving representatives
- Councillors and local Members of Parliament
These meetings and briefings undertaken have been mutually beneficial, with talks of alternatives such as barrier type solutions being made public by an official after meeting with them, and council presentations of alternatives being held days and weeks after our meetings.
The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority recommended on the 11th September 2014, that the Western Australian Government stop using drum lines due to concerns about their environmental impact. The final decision now belongs to the Western Australian Environment Minister and the Federal Environmental Minister. Premier Barnett however, continues to discuss "imminent threats" and "rogue sharks" and has stated that he is looking at introducing shark nets into the State's beaches. Sea Shepherd will continue to promote eco friendly options over nets ,which have been demonstrated to entrap and snare marine life.
On the east coast, we have been working to prepare conferences with several key stakeholder groups, such as:
These presentations will address the science and information currently available which point to non-lethal alternatives as effective solutions to removing drum lines and shark nets off the coasts of Queensland and New South Wales. As these states have had their lethal shark control programs in place for 53 and 77 years respectively, we will work to implement changes whilst ensuring both the public and authorities involved have an understanding of the necessity for a change in policy, while respecting human and marine life. We don't need to choose between the two as there are alternatives around today that can do both, that can assist with beach users safety, without indiscriminately killing our precious marine life for a false sense of security.
We aim to present much of our findings about the current policies to these key stakeholders in a group environment, however we continue to individually meet with members of parliament, fisheries, scientists, researchers and tourism operators on a daily basis to develop our understanding of the shark control policies on the east coast which we aim to positive change. There will be more updates to come about our efforts on the east coast- stay updated at www.seashepherd.org.au/apex-harmony