Culling has become a short term solution to lessening the fears of the Australian public. The inflation and sensationalisation of shark-related stories in Australian media, alongside their traditional role in pop-culture have left Australian’s uninformed and afraid.
As can be seen below, a number of Australian headlines feed off personifying sharks in a negative light. Sharks are characterised as ‘monsters’ and are described as ‘lurking’ near swimmers, as though they are planning to attack.
In particular this can be seen in the below image, where the headline by 9NEWS reads ‘Great white sharks spotted lurking ‘our front’ of Lennox Head surf club and off Ballina beaches’. Are they suggesting that the shark is waiting outside the surf club to attack a member? More concerning is the caption to the feature photo, which reads: ‘A huge school of baitfish, dolphins and whales have also made an appearance along the coastline’. Why were the baitfish, dolphins and whales not ‘lurking’? Could a more suitable title not have been ‘Abundance of Australian marine life living off Australian coast’?
Headlines and stories like these leave Australian’s feeling as though sharks are huge monsters waiting to kill them when they visit the beach.
This fear has left the government trying to find quick solutions which make it look as though they are solving the problem. This is where culling fits in. The government have attempted to make the public feel ‘safer’ by killing off our sharks. But this is extremely misleading! Culling does not make people safer by any means, in fact, it only brings larger sharks to the area where the methods are being used. For more info on it’s negative effects, check out our home page.