AS the organiser of the recent rally at Cottesloe Beach against the shark-cull initiatives of Premier Colin Barnett, I am devastated that the WA Government is refusing to listen to its constituents, the nation and the international community.
In a recent Fairfax survey, 91 per cent of respondents said they did not want bait-lines to be installed along the Western Australian coast.
I am an avid scuba-diver and diving instructor and this weekend I was planning to go scuba-diving. However, for the very first time I am worried about sharks.
I am concerned that the bait-lines will actually attract sharks to the shores, and I am not alone in this view.
I recently heard Rottnest Channel Swim organiser David Corney say that swimmers in this event are anxious and concerned that there will be an increased risk of a shark attack as a result of the installation of bait-lines.
Dive schools across Australia are being advised by divers that they too are now more worried about shark attacks. Businesses that have spoken out in favour of shark-culling are being boycotted.
The diving industry that I have grown so fond of is beginning to feel the effects of what is nothing other than a knee-jerk reaction to the fear of attacks.
Statistics and scientific research is ignored.
I now question whether the Barnett policy will affect international tourism.
Divers from overseas have stated that they are not only going to change their plans of visiting Perth, but also Australia. I cannot help but wonder whether Colin Barnett has really thought this policy through.
Please put more time and research into sustainable shark attack-mitigation strategies such as tagging and tracking, bubble curtains, underwater sounds and understanding the shark’s visual perceptions.
For now, I will continue to wear my neon pink wetsuit and I will save up to buy a shark shield, despite not having enough research on these initiatives, because for the very first time in my life I am afraid to dive.