Claim: Culling dangerous sharks exacerbates climate change

Yipes! Great White Shark, South Australia pictures underwater photos

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

In Australia a fierce debate is raging, between people who want to reduce the rising risk of shark attack on swimmers, by culling dangerous sharks, and greens, who often give the impression that losing a few people to shark attacks every year is acceptable. Now Professor Rod Connolly has added a new argument to the debate – he claims culling sharks exacerbates climate change.

According to the Brisbane Times;

As debate over shark culling continues along Australia’s coastline, a Queensland researcher has thrown another consideration into the mix – climate change.

Gold Coast-based marine scientist Professor Rod Connolly looked at data from coastal wetlands around the world and found those with fewer predators were less effective at storing carbon.

Simplistically, this meant less greenhouse gas locked away in plants and more floating free in the atmosphere contributing to warming and climate change.

The findings, published Tuesday in journal Nature Climate Change, came a few days after a seven-year-old girl was apparently bitten by a shark off Russell Island, near Cairns.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Predators continue to be harvested unsustainably throughout most of the Earth’s ecosystems. Recent research demonstrates that the functional loss of predators could have far-reaching consequences on carbon cycling and, by implication, our ability to ameliorate climate change impacts. Yet the influence of predators on carbon accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats (that is, salt marshes, seagrass meadows and mangroves) is poorly understood, despite these being some of the Earth’s most vulnerable and carbon-rich ecosystems. Here we discuss potential pathways by which trophic downgrading affects carbon capture, accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats. We identify an urgent need for further research on the influence of predators on carbon cycling in vegetated coastal habitats, and ultimately the role that these systems play in climate change mitigation. There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest that intact predator populations are critical to maintaining or growing reserves of ‘blue carbon’ (carbon stored in coastal or marine ecosystems), and policy and management need to be improved to reflect these realities.

Read more:

I’m personally disgusted that anyone could put the welfare of a few sharks, even an entire species of sharks, ahead of the safety of Australia’s children. As for the alleged “climate risk” associated with shark culling – lets just say I’m prepared to take that chance.

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September 29, 2015 5:08 pm

First he says “Yet the influence of predators on carbon accumulation and preservation in vegetated coastal habitats is poorly understood”
Then goes on to make a sweeping statement about the effects.
Climate change fanatic at work.

September 29, 2015 5:15 pm

Maybe my ancestors shouldn’t have killed wolves. Who knows how much “carbon” was released because of dead wolves?
Bad, bad ancestors!
(Now French government is reintroducing wolves and spending millions of euros to indemnify shepherds.)
Of course the area of a forest isn’t the same as the volume of the oceans, and killing wolves isn’t the same as killing sharks, and killing too many sharks might have bad consequences on the dynamics of sea life. But bringing carbon into the equation seems like another example of “everything is about carbon”.

Reply to  simple-touriste
September 29, 2015 5:38 pm

Everything ( all life ) is about carbon .
It’s just not about about CO2’s virtually nonexistent effect on temperature .

james Bradley
Reply to  simple-touriste
September 29, 2015 5:55 pm

Well, of course, CO2 is the only climate factor they managed to tax.

Reply to  james Bradley
September 29, 2015 7:17 pm


Reply to  simple-touriste
September 29, 2015 6:14 pm

Well, it is the circle of life after all. Mufasa said everything is connected. Lions eat the antelope, lions die and become grass fertilizer, and the antelope eats the grass.

Of course, it is all perfect balance until humans started to make life easier. At least according to the eco-zealots. You see, burning hydrocarbons does not produce plant fertilizer, but carbon pollution. Never you mind that is still CO2, it is carbon pollution.

Reply to  alexwade
October 1, 2015 8:01 pm

It’s ok to conserve nature. Don’t kill….

Leonard Lane
Reply to  simple-touriste
September 29, 2015 11:24 pm

Isn’t it silly that the science is settled about climate change (always global warming if you read far enough). On the other hand anything and everything can cause climate change and the surplus of funds available to fund mediocre science or outright science scams is always available from government borrowing.

Reply to  simple-touriste
September 30, 2015 4:04 pm


September 29, 2015 5:16 pm

On the other hand, it is quite permissible to destroy many hundreds of square miles of peat bogs – known to be one of the most effective carbon sequestration systems on Earth – and chop down many tens of thousands of trees in order to erect thousands of entirely useless bird and bat mincing subsidy wind farms, isn’t it?.

Reply to  catweazle666
September 29, 2015 5:18 pm

That should be “subsidy wind farms”.
When oh when is WordPress going to acquire a preview or edit function?
Reply:You can use CA assistant. ~mod

Reply to  catweazle666
September 29, 2015 6:34 pm

“-known to be one of the most effective carbon sequestration systems on Earth – ” Seems you omitted ‘to me’ after your first ‘known’. I only say this because peat bogs are a most unstable carbon sink. Others out here would argue that the oceans are by far the most effective carbon repository on Earth. You are right however that subsidised economically ineffficient wind farms should not replace trees. There must be a better way to reduce flying foxes.

Reply to  grumpyoldman22
September 30, 2015 2:45 pm

See those two little words “one of”?

September 29, 2015 5:19 pm

‘We identify an urgent need for further research…..’. Enough said

Reply to  Alex
September 29, 2015 5:25 pm

i.e. gimme the moula!!!!

September 29, 2015 5:23 pm

Before any culling, why is there a shortage of predators in the poor carbon storage areas?

Reply to  Slywolfe
September 29, 2015 10:01 pm

Because no seaweed – no food or hiding place for shark food – no shark food – no sharks.
(I’m sure those scientists did think this out and I’m naughty suggesting they didn’t. Sorry. But they made such a good headline I had to.)

September 29, 2015 5:25 pm

This is getting ridiculous–and I mean REALLY ridiculous.
I’m not a scientist, so I won’t say what does or doesn’t exacerbate climate change. But FEAR of climate change is definitely exacerbating stupid and irrational human behavior. Mass hysteria will do that.

September 29, 2015 5:29 pm

I haven’t read the “paper”, but I am prepared to bet that the esteemed professor hasn’t looked at shark food intake and excreta compared to the the same functions in the target prey, I am quite sure that the amount of Methane excreted by a shark is a lot more “climate changing” then a bit of carbon here and there. Another money grabbing exercise and a “justification” for the greens “You Cannot Do That” to everything!!!!

September 29, 2015 5:32 pm

Don’t you understand that everything is a Rube Goldberg machine of “delicate balance” and if you change just one little part the whole damn thing jumps the tracks! It is amazing to me that people who are militant atheist evolutionists do not allow any room for evolution in their view of ecology. All relations are apparently to evolve to a point of dynamic equilibrium and then stand stock still in a delicate balancing act. It’s so preposterous a proposition that only sophistry can keep it on its feet!

Louis Hunt
September 29, 2015 5:42 pm

“There is, however, sufficient evidence to suggest that intact predator populations are critical to maintaining or growing reserves of ‘blue carbon’ (carbon stored in coastal or marine ecosystems)”
How are predators critical in maintaining or growing reserves of blue carbon? Do they eat the creatures that feed off of such marine ecosystems? Is this another case of finding a correlation and jumping to a conclusion?
In any case, sharks are not the only marine predators. And culling a few dangerous sharks is not going to have much affect on the shark population, unless shark attacks are not as rare as they keep telling us.

September 29, 2015 5:46 pm

….and while we’re on the subject of exacerbating climate change, has anyone looked at CNN’s website lately?
Raising cattle and eating beef are the new SUV of climate change……

Reply to  CD153
September 29, 2015 5:57 pm

….with over 18 years of no AGW now, I somehow get the notion that the climate doesn’t really care about what comes out of the rear ends of cattle. But I suppose I could be wrong….

Reply to  CD153
September 29, 2015 6:00 pm

Oh, yes, we are behind schedule in our transition to a culture of insect eating, walking skeletons:

Gary Pearse
September 29, 2015 5:54 pm

The same species are off African and North American coasts. Starting with the lack of knowledge within a few hundred percent of what climate sensitivity is, how much sequestration is actually going on naturally (it was a surprise that the earth was greening noticeably and the Harvard research forest trees are growing more rapidly than thought), and oceans, the main part of the carbon cycle is largely unquantified in terms of ingress and egress of carbon dioxide, this is another egghead study by surprisingly simpleton scientists. The mission-oriented gravy train has had a reverse darwinian effect on the calibre of scientists in the field.
The common omission from all such studies is a perspective on magnitude of an effect. This one is so bad that it can be safely stated that any effect is negligible and may be even unlikely to be an effect. Tell me, good biologist/ecologists, what is the symbiotic connection between marshes and wetlands on land and this shark? Tell me how the plants know to stop their photosynthesis when the sharks are gone? Anybody out there with such knowledge willing to share?
Now, having said all that, I, too, would not be overly happy with a massive shark cull. Surely a little imagination could be exercised in the solution. Maybe attach a transmitter to the shark that sounds alarms from a horn or something on the beach when one of these beasts is within a couple of miles of the coast or a point appears on a computer screen map… Maybe try to perfect a shark repellent. Maybe close into shore, have the signal cause a net fence to rise up with floats. Gee we walked on the moon almost 50 yrs ago.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 29, 2015 6:37 pm

Tell me how the plants know to stop their photosynthesis when the sharks are gone? Anybody out there with such knowledge willing to share?

Of course.
The plants are accessing the Global Climate Teleconnection Signal. This signal, for instance, is what allowed various trees on the Yamal Peninsula to record climate signals from up to 1200 km away, instead of the local environment. The proper consideration of this signal was critical to the success of that seminal paper MBH ’98, which introduced the iconic Hockey Stick to the world. Clearly, the plants are using the same powerful mechanism to keep track of these apex predators offshore.
Aren’t you glad you asked.
On a less frivolous note: Many popular beaches in Australia are netted to keep out Box jellyfish. Those creatures can be quite as lethal as any shark. It is not really that unreasonable to net a beach, and warn people, “You are on your own” if they swim elsewhere.

Reply to  TonyL
September 30, 2015 6:59 am

What frequency is the teleconnection Signal on?
Perhaps Kenneth knows?

Reply to  TonyL
September 30, 2015 11:20 pm

What frequency is the grant cheque?

September 29, 2015 5:57 pm

These nut cases need a serious horsewhipping.
What on Earth is wrong with people these days?

Michael Jankowski
September 29, 2015 6:14 pm

Won’t be long before someone proposes feeding “deniers” to the sharks.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
September 30, 2015 3:35 am

Don’t give them anymore goofy ideas !!!!!

September 29, 2015 6:19 pm

Since predators gain their distinction by killing more junior predators in what is frequently referred to as a “food chain”, it stands to reason that the presence of a species that preys on the heretofore most powerful predator should enhance the miraculous carbon-sequestering phenomenon.
With humans preying on sharks and sharks preying on humans, it’s a wonder there’s any carbon loose in the ocean.
Perhaps, when the newly discovered amphibian Martians make it to our seas, we shall reach a tipping point of predation and carbon precipitation.

September 29, 2015 6:19 pm

I do not specifically support the culling of sharks that is happening in Australia, due to the fact that much of the culling is done unsustainably (I’m not against catching some sharks for food purposes or even to simply control the population, as long as it’s done without harming the species’ survival), but…this is just…I have no words.
Yet another reason as to why I’m a skeptic. Thank you for posting this.

Reply to  Anthony
September 29, 2015 9:04 pm

Yeah. And the oceans are being overfished, lots of carbon based life forms gone. Near China there are hardly any fish so they are harvesting and processing jelly fish blooms that have replaced the fish. Climate change smimate change. There are a lot more important issues that are being ignored. Sad.

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
September 30, 2015 11:41 am

Well, I think saying that there are NO fish in China is a bit of an overstatement, however, overfishing occurs much more frequently there. That is a fact. Certainly sad indeed. Even as a fisherman, that doesn’t mean that I don’t stand for conservation.

September 29, 2015 6:31 pm

Prof. Rod really has jumped the shark.

James Allison
September 29, 2015 7:01 pm

What are the chances of being killed by a shark compared with say being run over by a bus?

Mike McMillan
Reply to  James Allison
September 29, 2015 7:43 pm


Reply to  James Allison
September 29, 2015 10:07 pm

Depends on your decisions. Sharks and buses predate in different habitats.

Reply to  James Allison
September 30, 2015 3:50 pm

zero…if you don’t go swimming
But for people that swim as often as they can…and never take the bus…..the opposite

Reply to  Latitude
September 30, 2015 3:55 pm

actually, you don’t have to take the bus to be hit by the bus. In fact, better still if you are on the bus, then you definitely won’t get hit by it.

James Allison
September 29, 2015 7:21 pm

I’m a recreational spearo (free diver). Where I dive locally in Northern NZ, Bronze Whalers, occasionally Mako sharks or “Sevengillers” may sidle on up, have a look at me then go pinch fish (usually Snapper and Kingfish) I have on my float line. All I feel is a slight tug on the line. We reckon they hear the sound of the spear gun firing underwater and come on in for a look from wherever they happen to be cruising. There is a fairly new device on the market called a Sharkbanz that we can strap to our ankles and float lines. I haven’t seen any sharks come visit since I started using it and importantly, the hard earned fish are not being pinched!

Ric Haldane
September 29, 2015 7:34 pm

Perhaps the professor should go hand feed the sharks every day so their little tummies stay full and they won’t bother people. He would at least learn what balance in nature is.

September 29, 2015 7:35 pm

I’m not in support of culling any sharks.
Build water parks and man made surfing waves for those who demand absolute safety and charge them for the experience.

Reply to  RD
September 30, 2015 9:14 am


Jay Hope
Reply to  RD
October 1, 2015 1:19 am

I agree, RD. If you don’t want to get eaten by a shark, don’t go into the water. It’s as simple as that.

September 29, 2015 7:41 pm

Lemme see. The atmosphere on Mars is 97% CO2 and it is cold as Hell. Must have something to do with the sun?

High Treason
September 29, 2015 7:47 pm

The difference in CO2 is so absolutely infinitesimal that there are so many zeros to put in front as to cause RSI. To call this serious research is to besmirch the reputation of science itself. Even humanity looks stupid classifying this as serious science.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  High Treason
September 30, 2015 7:19 am

Those who’ve studied the science know that the ‘small percentage’ argument is not valid. What matters is how many CO2 molecules a photon encounters on its way through the atmosphere. The answer is many, even with only a fractional percentage concentration. However, there are a number of other scientific reasons why the scare stories about CO2 causing insane temperature rises are also not valid.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  High Treason
October 1, 2015 6:20 pm

High Treason,
300ppm seemed enough to make grass, crops, trees, etc. so small amount doesn’t equate to negligible (idea from Steven Mosher in another thread). Yeah, CO2 does have the temperature effect, but I think the billion plus years of unbroken chain of life despite high and low CO2 (up to 5000-9000 ppm that made the coal seams) shows us that negative feedbacks figure larger than conventional wisdom thinks (they multiply the effect which seems to be why they have everything a way too hot in their models.
Also, to have a 20year pause in global warming (despite the reckless adjustments) while one third of all CO2 added to the atmosphere since pre-industrial times is occurring, tells you unequivocally that natural variability is a large part of the temperature changes and that CO2 addition is very much lesser a mover of temperature than CAGW proponents wish it was. Yeah there is the ‘ceterus paribus’ [latin for “all other things held constant”] warming physics caused by CO2, but this sets off phenomena that resist the temperature increase [negative feedbacks].
The reason the “debate” has reached the ‘jail-em, RICO-em, kill-em’ crescendo of late, is because proponents are resisting a truth that their minds are revolting against (real classical psychological denial – hence the now well known psychological illness among them coined the Climate Science Blues.
A sensible estimate of future warming? We’re on track to add possibly another 0.7C by 2100, with the probability for it being cooler than that, now elevated by the surprise “pause”.

September 29, 2015 7:54 pm

Rod Connolly – Thanks for the laugh and BTW you’re a MORON!

September 29, 2015 8:07 pm

You know what else was an effective carbon sink? The billions of Vermont trees cut down and pelletised to feed into Drax. Maybe we need more study into that.

September 29, 2015 8:17 pm

I don’t know why, but I was always for killing sharks. They eat the fish that the human fishermen could catch. Sort of like getting rid of wolves, etc…

Interested Observer
September 29, 2015 8:19 pm

How about slapping a “What? Me, worry?” speech balloon on that shark’s picture? Seems very appropriate.

Reply to  Interested Observer
September 30, 2015 10:54 am

I was thinking more on the lines of … “What big teeth you have …”

September 29, 2015 8:25 pm

I say lets have green beaches, specifically reserved for people who put sharks before people.
That way we will, or at least the sharks will, cull the greens, the sharks will be fed and I dare say that many of the human population will be happier.

Reply to  rogerthesurf
September 30, 2015 7:02 am

and more intelligent.

September 29, 2015 8:53 pm

There is irrefutable evidence that ice-cream consumption and shark attacks are directly correlated.
To save the children form these vicious shark attacks, it’s scientifically justified for the UN to ban the consumption of ice cream, or at least provide a few $billion in research grants for further study into this shark frenzy/ice-cream consumption phenomenon…
The science is settled..

September 29, 2015 8:59 pm

Ball point pens kills 3 times as many people each year as sharks. (People doing the sucking thing, slipping and choking.) Maybe we should have a ball point pen cull?

Reply to  Tony
September 29, 2015 10:17 pm

The pen is mightier than a sword? Protecting sharks because ‘they are extremely vulnerable and help slow down global warming by eating sea turtles’ just sounds very much less intelligent than say, designing pens so that people (children?) sucking them would not manage choke.

Reply to  Hugs
September 29, 2015 10:34 pm

Wait: aren’t sea turtles endangered?

September 29, 2015 9:01 pm

“I’m personally disgusted that anyone could put the welfare of a few sharks, even an entire species of sharks, ahead of the safety of Australia’s children. ”
And I’m personally disgusted by people that:
1. Use “safety of children” as some shield to hide behind to enforce horrible policy (isn’t that what proponents of ACC do?);
2. Think destroying a whole species of animals for the convenience and recreation of people is a good idea;
3. Have zero clue about the importance of predators on a healthy ecosystem.
The climate change angle is just silly. But culling sharks, when shark populations are being decimated around the globe will have horrible consequences.
Also, Hawaii has experience with culling Tiger sharks, and surprise, research showed it didn’t actually work. You can read up on it:
What’s irritating about proponents of climate change is that they need to spin every thing about climate change in a negative way.
But it’s just as bad when skeptics are so biased themselves, that they lose sight that things like culling entire species, or clear cutting forest, or straight up things like pollution, are just plain bad on their own merit.

Reply to  uan2001
September 29, 2015 10:18 pm

‘Have zero clue about the importance of predators on a healthy ecosystem.’
True. Apply to humans as well.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 29, 2015 11:11 pm

The author made a dual statement, both supporting culling, or even wiping out an entire shark species to “protect the children”.
Culling doesn’t work.
And it just leads to a vastly reduced shark population that’s already incredibly stressed.
Sharks are not bedbugs or termites, and eradicating termites from a home is not the same as making the extinct. Sharks serve a very specific and necessary function in the ecosystem. Australia should know all about invasive species with no natural predators and how easy it is to bring those animals into check…wait, not easy at all.
Even suggesting wiping out an entire species so children can swim at the beach is beyond the pale. I guess after the sharks are gone, or concurrently, we should just kill all the lions in Africa to make it safe for the children over there. We could set up a whole kill all dangerous animals to save the children campaign.
Apparently though, more people drown in Australia every year than are killed by sharks. So after killing all the sharks, Australia could just drain the ocean too. You know, to protect the children.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 29, 2015 11:22 pm

Not only that Uan2001. Most children die in swimming pools than at the beach here in Australia. And many more die while their parents are reversing their SUV down the driveway. So, sharks are not the problem with child deaths here. Clearly, the author is a fool.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 30, 2015 10:29 am

Then don’t swim in the sharks environment Eric. Eradicating a species is a foolish and uninformed thing to hope for.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 30, 2015 12:41 pm

“a value judgement, based on whether you value kids, or sharks”
Yes, it is a value judgement. The first value is that a decision should not be made on an appeal to emotions “if you value kids, etc…”
Then the next value should be on what reality is. Per Wikipedia, list of shark fatalities in Australia (, there have been 8 fatalities between 2014 and the present. The two youngest were 17 and 18 respectively, and they weren’t swimming, they were spear fishing.
So, I don’t see a lot of children being killed by sharks. Yet, that is a cornerstone of your argument “do you value sharks versus kids.” Looks a bit like a straw man argument.
We can compare traffic fatalities to shark attacks and say, if we value kids, we should cull or ban automobiles outright. Lots of things kill children.
Additional values we should look at:
– the impact of apex predators on a healthy ecosystem and fisheries
– long term impact of no predators on a ecosystem
– the value of a species that can not be replaced versus discretionary leisure activities. Should sharks be wiped out so people can swim at peace in the ocean, or have shark fin soup?
There are some values so deeply ingrained, and preserving species on the planet is one of them. Humanity has even created an endangered species list to keep us from driving species into extinction. There are also efforts to bring species back from the edge of extinction.
If you want to make a value judgement that utility is more important that species, then we can also say, what utility does it serve to have a 10 year go swimming in the ocean?
Being against the absurdities of climate change proponents doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be good ecological stewards of the environment. There’s a reason we have flushing toilets in our homes, and we take the garbage out and have it picked up and taken to a landfill. We don’t live in our own filth. Caring for the environment is the same.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 30, 2015 4:52 pm

“…Should sharks be wiped out so people can swim at peace in the ocean, or have shark fin soup?…”

Oh yeah, get your knickers in a twist. Conflate culling dangerous sharks with kill em all and make soup.
When proven dangerous, remove them. That is culling. It works with bears, lions and other dangerous beasts.
If the oriental desire for shark fin soup at any cost hasn’t eliminated sharks, culling a few of the dangerous ones certainly won’t hurt.
That is what that fool Rod is trying to do, get people who have no clear concept of reality to go tweet and text crazy supporting sharks over people.
Only the way any civilized law works, any one human life is worth more than any beast. Or are you going to insist we start sacrificing virgins to sharks so they leave the rest of us alone?
Pagan idolatry is pagan idolatry whether you’re worshipping sharks or eco-looney energy scams.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 2, 2015 4:21 pm

Late to the party again.
As far as sharks and “Climate Change” goes, this is nonsense. A couple of butterflies flapping their wings is probably more devastating. (But neither has been or can be measured so who knows? Certainly any computer ever built or any program they’ve run.)
As far as people vs animals goes, I’m reminded of an exchange a decade or so ago on the old AOL pet care forums.
California had banned the hunting of cougars a few years before.
A young mother of 2 went jogging in a public park. She was killed and partially eaten by a cougar. The cougar had a cub.
The cougar was killed and the cub captured and sent to a zoo or shelter. (I don’t remember which.)
A fund was set up for kids and the another for the cub.
More was raised for the cub than the kids.
PS The Rocky Mountain Goat was an endangered species. No hunting allowed. After the ban on hunting cougars their numbers dwindled even more.
PPS I’m recalling all this using a mind that is not as young as it used to be. Cut me some slack. 😎

Reply to  uan2001
September 29, 2015 11:19 pm

Well said uan2001. Nothing wrong with conservation. In fact it’s desirable. Too bad alarmist idiots hijacked the environmental movement. Let people who want to use the ocean at the beach pay for lifeguards in designated areas and look out s for sharks. Otherwise, swim, unprotected areas at your own risk..

Jay Hope
Reply to  RD
October 1, 2015 1:13 pm

Again, I agree with you, RD. If they want to go for a swim so badly, then let em pay for some security. They’re happy to pay for everything else. Or leave the water to the sharks. It’s their choice…..

September 30, 2015 12:18 am

Shark culling is aimed at shark species that are known for attacking humans, and then only those in areas popular for human recreation. The number of sharks involved would be tiny and not enough to affect eco-systems.
There’s no mention in the paper specifically of creatures that eat humans, and predators include many creatures that are either not interested in or too small to bother people.
The paper refers to predators generally, many of which end up in human meals.
I’m quite keen on bronze whaler and chips, and thousands are caught for this purpose, but bronzies are not generally known for attacking humans. The only fatal shark attack attributed to a bronze whaler occurred in 2011 not far from where I live.
We don’t know how many bronze whalers there are, how long they live, how many are caught [but a lot]……not much about them at all. We certainly don’t know the affect of removing thousands of them from various ecosystems.
If a predator is removed from a system then there may be a population explosion of the creatures it targets until they perhaps over exploit their normal food source. It seems to me to be a valid concern
Other people have come to the same conclusion as Connolly. It’s not new..
However the “ameliorating climate change” reference is new in papers of this type.
He who pays the piper calls the tune.
When you know where your research grants come from you dance to their music

September 30, 2015 1:01 am

I have followed the TV news on this subject – I am not aware the NSW authorities are the slightest bit interested in a culling option. But what really amazes me is the opposition to anti-shark netting at swimming beaches. That to me is a no brainer but is opposed by most greens and animals first types.
Nets no doubt kill a few sharks and other species that get jammed – tough luck the sea is a mess of various species eating each other.

September 30, 2015 1:42 am

How many climate models take shark numbers into account? Will more powerful computers and larger research grants be required before this new factor can be included? Will shark biologists be jumping onto the climate change gravy train?

September 30, 2015 2:36 am

[snip – inappropriate language -mod]

September 30, 2015 3:46 am

All to try to counter a gas that is plant food and that cannot detectable warm the climate, regardless of its increase in the atmosphere. This is a non-issue in the real world and, if anybody is committing a crime, it is willful neglect by this guy, promoting deadly risk for swimmers/.

September 30, 2015 3:46 am

More proof that liberals really are insane !!!

September 30, 2015 5:36 am

One could look at the experience in Yellowstone Park where the re-introduction of wolves significantly changed the ecosystem. The wolves decreased the elk population which then reduced the strain on willows and the ecological makeup of the park changed dramatically. This is called a “trophic cascade”. The removal of an apex predator can change an ecosystem dramatically.
Thus the removal of the shark, in this case, may have unanticipated and undesirable consequences. it is a possibility that should be considered seriously given the experience in Yellowstone and not dismissed with derision.

Reply to  TAG
September 30, 2015 7:05 am

Could have just allowed the hunting of the elk instead. A hunter’s bullet is a lot more humane compared to being torn apart by a wolf pack.

Steve Lohr
Reply to  TAG
October 1, 2015 7:29 pm

Tag, the significance you claim has been checked and the science is not settled. See: Kauffman, M.J., J. Brodie, and E.S. Jules. 2010. Are wolves saving Yellowstone’s aspen? A landscape-level test of a behaviorally mediated trophic cascade. Ecology 91:2742-2755.
The outcome may not be the desired validation of the introduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park that the proponents would wish. It certainly isn’t strong enough to justify the stress on the growers and ranching families having to deal with the exponentially growing numbers of wolves. People are loosing working dogs, hunting dogs, and pets to these wolves which are barely exposed to any constraints. Livestock losses are growing with the population of wolves in all areas. What is even more interesting is the fact that when they were “eradicated” there were no lawsuits, stock losses, dogs killed, or additional complications to managing other predator and prey populations. We could have decided not to have wolves in the areas where they are now a problem, but that is water under the bridge since collusion and delaying activities from NGOs is certain to guarantee a prolonged delay in any decisive action to stop the spread of wolves into very inappropriate habitat. The truth is we humans are the keystone species. We decide what animals are appropriate and where. It really is our choice what species to prefer and which to reject. Some species have been successful in resisting our preferences, others have not. I am glad polio is gone. I am also glad plague grasshoppers are gone. Some suburbanites with children would like to see fewer coyotes and mountain lions in town, but that is another issue. We have been manipulating animal populations for probably 30,000 years. To stop will not return us to the Garden of Eden.

September 30, 2015 6:54 am

The most efficient places for storing carbon would be the salt water marshes. Not many sharks in there.

September 30, 2015 7:01 am

Ohhhhhh…. now I get it. They are both termed sharks but it took me quite awhile to figure out we were discussing fish and not lawyers. I was all for culling until I realized it was the fish that were going to get culled.
(Sorry, ya’ll. This comment thread was just begging for a lawyer joke.)
I caught 3 sharks while fishing on the Atlantic coast last week; catch and release. Two of them were large enough to have a shot at me since I had no one to help me de-hook them. Respect the jaws.

Reply to  H.R.
September 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Sharks are attracted by blood. Lawyers have no blood.
Once you start with lawyer jokes, it is very hard to stop.

September 30, 2015 9:53 am

This is a perfect example of correlation does not equal causation.

September 30, 2015 9:56 am

>>Mareeba Property Management September 29, 2015 at 5:29 pm
I haven’t read the “paper”, but I am prepared to bet that the esteemed professor hasn’t looked at shark food intake and excreta compared to the the same functions in the target prey, I am quite sure that the amount of Methane excreted by a shark is a lot more “climate changing” then a bit of carbon here and there. Another money grabbing exercise and a “justification” for the greens “You Cannot Do That” to everything!!!!<<
The argument would be fewer sharks equals more herbivores equals fewer aquatic plants and thus less sequestration. Does that really make any sense?

September 30, 2015 11:52 am

In fairness to the greens (I know, I know), we *do* tend to consider other things worth having thousands of people die every year from. Cars, smoking, guns etc, not to mention other apex predators and the like.

September 30, 2015 1:10 pm

“I’m personally disgusted that anyone could put the welfare of a few sharks, even an entire species of sharks, ahead of the safety of Australia’s children.”
And I’m disgusted that anyone would want to wipe out an entire species just because a child wants to swim in the wrong place, how arrogant to think you or your child takes precedence over nature, what’s next chop all the trees down in case a child climbs one, falls out & kills its self ???

Reply to  1saveenergy
September 30, 2015 5:04 pm

Yup, typical eco-precautionary thinking. Take precaution to absurd limits with all of the suffering done by others.
What if it is your child 1savenoenergy? When your children don’t matter let us know.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 1, 2015 1:20 am

Presumably you teach your children that drinking & driving don’t mix, if your child is stupid enough to ignore the danger & is removed from the gene pool, do you –
1. ban cars
2. ban drink
3. use it as a lesson to prevent others repeating the same mistake.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 1, 2015 5:57 am

Why 1savenoenergy!
How does sharks attacking people, even your children equate to drinking and driving or wearing pants?
There you go using twisted precautionary illogic again to try and make it seem sensible that allowing sharks to eat anyone they like without correction is remotely sensible.
Taking your absurd notion of drinking and driving, the police and mothers set up road blocks, road sweeps, police wolf packs, or whatever to identify and remove drunk drivers from the road. A real road cull on living people.
Cull the d__n sharks! One thing is for sure, the sharks don’t care; they may learn, but they won’t care.
An odd thing about kids. They learn best by example and education. Ever notice that kids who drink and drive often have parents, close relatives or friends who drink and drive? It’s the “they do it, I can do it” copycat actions.
It isn’t the knowledge that drinking and driving don’t mix, it is the understanding that drinking and driving is extremely dangerous, often lethal. There is no thrill seeking getting drunk and driving, only idiocy.
Cull the drunk drivers, cull the sharks.

September 30, 2015 8:42 pm

A shark does it out of millions of years of instinct, it ain’t personal (which makes it even scarier ).
Personal attacks can be understood.

October 1, 2015 12:27 am

” Eric Worrall
September 30, 2015 at 12:45 pm
Sharks shouldn’t be swimming in my environment. As someone who lives on the edge of the tropics, I regularly kill pest animals which are inconvenient or dangerous. I don’t see why sharks should receive special treatment.”
No Eric, YOU are a source of protein swimming in the sharks environment.
If you find a shark in your pool, kill it by all means because that’s your environment.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 2, 2015 8:02 am

What makes you think you are more important to the world than a shark ??

Gunga Din
Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 2, 2015 5:17 pm

October 2, 2015 at 8:02 am
What makes you think you are more important to the world than a shark ??

If you don’t think he is, then go feed one.
The shark won’t know or care either way.
But you can. Really, do you know? Do you care?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
October 3, 2015 12:41 am

@ Gunga Din,
“If you don’t think he is, then go feed one.
The shark won’t know or care either way.
But you can. Really, do you know? Do you care?”
28 words but no clear point !!
Maybe we should kill all the ‘human sharks’ who want to make money from the climate scam, they are causing more deaths than ocean sharks.

October 2, 2015 10:33 pm

Let’s just kill every animal that could kill us. What a moronic idea.
My issue is overpopulation. The fact is that we have been adding a billion people to the planet every 12/13 years since 1974. And in the meantime killed half the animals on the planet. And we are expected to continue adding people at that rate till about 2050 when we level off at 10 billion. I recently read that in the last few years, poachers killed off another 100,000 elephants. At this rate, I doubt any non-domesticated large animals will be on the planet in 2050.

Jay Hope
October 3, 2015 12:39 am

I agree, David. It’s madness!

October 3, 2015 12:43 am

I haven’t checked all the figures, but they appear to be correct
The International Shark Attack File reveals that between 1580 and 2014, only 497 people lost their lives due to 2777 shark attacks. Look at the figures on this page –
The United States averages just 16 shark attacks each year and slightly less than one shark-attack fatality every two years. Meanwhile, in the coastal U.S. states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 41 people each year.
In the developed world, 87 percent of children younger than 14 killed by firearms live in the United States. More American children and teenagers died from gunfire in 2010—a single year—than U.S. troops in Afghanistan since 2001. Is this truly the culture we want for our children?
And Eric wants to wipe out an entire species to save 1 child, strange priority’s !!
If you want to kill something to ‘save the children’ start with politicians deciding they want more power/cash/land & bomb innocent civilians to achieve their aims,…then theres gun dealers,…then move on to parents who feed their kids junk food leading to Childhood Obesity (with it’s attendant problems), how about mosquitoes ? the diseases they carry kill millions,…..It’s a big list before you get down to sharks.

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