stop the nets by charlie pate

Letter to the Editor – Sydney Morning Herald

No need to fret, Stop the nets.

How would you feel if you got trapped in a net, just left to die?

The installation of shark nets in Australia is appalling. These nets have no scientific proof of working but are just slaughter machines for our oceans’ wildlife.

In the last 50 years there have been 47 unprovoked shark attack fatalities; an average of 0.9 per year. With an estimated 100 million beach visits a year, you can expect that a shark is going to be there at least once. Considering that around 300 people a year drown at our beaches, the media and public objection to sharks is senseless. Instead, what we should be doing, is teaching people how to swim and be water smart rather than killing innocent animals.

People are under the misconception that shark nets provide a complete barrier between the beach and the ocean beyond. In fact shark nets don’t keep people safe as they are only 150 meters long and 6 meters high so the sharks can swim over or around them.

In Queensland alone between 1975 and 2001, 11,899 great white sharks, tiger sharks and bull sharks were killed in these death traps. Shark nets are, however, also indiscriminate killers of other marine wildlife. Some 53,000 other marine animals were also killed in nets and drumlines just in Queensland, with similar numbers in NSW. Ninety threatened or protected species were caught in the nets during the 2015-16 season. This includes whales, turtles and dolphins.

In NSW 65% of shark bites occurred at netted beaches. The shark population in Australia is rapidly decreasing so is there really such a big need for these nets? Many organisations have started petitions and have already received the support of 250,000 signatures on petitions around Australia. Is the Australian government going to support these Australian citizens in their protest to stop the slaughter of these helpless animals that are not causing any harm?

It is not just other marine life that perishes in shark nets: In 2007 a 15 year old boy drowned after being caught in a shark net. There are many times that an animal has to be killed to save a human, so you would think that if a school boy died in the nets they would be removed.

A specialist in this area, Professor Laurie Laurenson from Deakin University, has analysed 50 years’ of shark control programs to identify if a reduction in the number of sharks resulted in a drop in attacks. "We couldn’t show that. We could not demonstrate that there is a statistically significant relationship between the density of sharks and the number of attacks," Associate Professor Laurenson told the Australian Newspaper.

Perhaps our fear of sharks isn’t fuelled by fact but rather by Hollywood.

Come on Australia, let’s stop the nets!


What did I do well?

What I think I did well at, was researching the impact shark nets have as it is a topic that I am passionate about. I found a lot of my information quite quickly and easily. I found creating the adobe page was quite easy and completed that with few problems. I think I created my poster fairly well and I really like the colour scheme and the look of it.

What would I do differently if I had to do the task again?

If I had to do this task again I would try to make a more professional poster. I would learn how to use Photoshop so I could make it look even better. I might have chosen a different topic so I could learn new things on an interesting subject.

What help did I need?

I needed help the most with creating the poster. I tried to do it on Photoshop but I couldn’t so I ended up making it on PowerPoint. I also needed a little help using ThingLink. It was also challenging choosing what persuasive techniques I could use. I needed some help with making the speech to the full length but otherwise I found this a relatively easy project.

The main thing about the art of persuasion that I have learned from this task:

I have learnt many more ways that you can use persuasion in writing and visual texts. Before this assignment, I didn’t know of the different techniques that can be used to persuade someone regarding a particular topic. I now understand how these techniques can be applied not just in writing but also in images. In particular I think the poster I created sends a clear message on the negative impact of shark nets.

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