What knowledge should we use to determine if the practice of culling sharks reduces the incidence of attack? Marine biology? Statistics? How about experience and common sense?
Shark conservationists have posed a persistent challenge to culling. Attached is a recent example pertaining to the island of Reunion (east of Madagascar), which has suffered a spate of shark attacks. The author, George Burgess, also heads the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), widely regarded as expert authority on sharks and attacks.
There are a host of problems related to shark culling, including environmental damage, lack of knowledge of the exact shark population size (primary species posing a danger: great white, tiger and bull) and the difficulty of determining how many sharks have to be killed to increase public safety But these factors do not negate the efficacy of the process.
In simple terms, culling seeks to reduce the sum impacts of the individuals of an animal population. There are but three outcomes:
The animal population is reduced insufficiently to have any effect.
The population reduction produces results ranging from minor to heavy.
The population reduction results in extinction. Example: population of grizzly bears that used to inhabit California.
If the culling does not result in the desired outcome, it simply means–pardon the bluntness–that the level of killing must be escalated, repeatedly if necessary. Common sense can rarely be acknowledged to be an answer for anything, but this situation seems to be an exception.
Additional questions: For years the ISAF has pushed two themes:
1) Shark attack is extremely rare; you’ll sooner be hit by lightning.
2) Humans pose a far greater threat to sharks; we kill some 63-100 million sharks a year.
Are not these two correlated? Should we not accept that this rather dramatic number of shark deaths brings us this low level of attack?
(I submitted this topic, modified somewhat, to AskScience. As it is a political as much as a science question I am submitting it here.)
Submitted July 02, 2017 at 04:06AM by Markdd8
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