Sunday, January 28, 2007

Embrace thine enemy

Will the film Jaws soon be banned because the film-makers failed to respect the special status of killer sharks as eco-victims?
(BBC) The attack on 41-year-old Eric Nerhus came as a senior wildlife official called for water police to carry rifles to protect swimmers after a 6m shark was seen off Phillip Island in Victoria.

"I suggested a .22 (rifle) with blunt-head ammunition because to kill a shark that big you would need the explosive to go off in its head," senior park ranger Graeme Burgan told The Age newspaper in Melbourne.

He said shooting the giant predator would be "a last resort."

The comments have alarmed environmentalists.

"To have a police officer on a boat willing to shoot a shark that comes near for no good reason really is in effect breaking the law," said Michael Kennedy, director of the Humane Society International's (HSI) Australian branch.

"The great white shark is a threatened species, and there's a need to be compassionate about how you treat them," he urged.
Unnatural swimming practices of humans disrupt the ecological balance of our planet. Though sharks are not subject to our laws, they do enjoy special predatory advatages:
Dr John Stevens, a shark biologist and government scientist based in Hobart, Tasmania, said: "Sharks, as one of the top predators in the marine ecosystem, play a very important role in structuring fish communities.

"And if we perturb natural ecosystems, then there are likely to be very dire consequences even though, at this stage, we don't fully understand what those consequences may be."