Clearly many Perth people are very anxious about the possibility of shark attacks these days. And in an attempt to allay their fears, a couple of local surfers called Rob Mayberry and Cam Avery have created a community event to be held on Sunday, February 10. They, along with anyone who wishes to join them will paddle from Cottesloe to Scarborough. The event is called the Peaceful Paddle (Against Shark Culling).

While I'm sure their intentions are sincere, I can't help being skeptical myself.

For a start, invoking the idea of pacifism in relation to this issue is just completely daft. The implication is that we humans are waging war on the sharks and that we should be more gentle and caring in our approach.

But speciesist bellicosity has got nothing to do with it. We just don't want swimmers and surfers to be eaten alive, that's all! In any case, not one shark has yet been killed as part of Colin Barnett's aggressive strategy. (And neither are the sharks waging war on us, by the way. They're just doing what comes naturally. Which just goes to show that contrary to what greenies are so fond of saying, what's natural is not necessarily good!)

No doubt many of those who will be participating are the kind of people who like to say the "ocean is the shark's domain". Well, if so, then why do they ever go surfing at all? If this is what you believe, it seems remarkably hypocritical to only leave the water when a noah appears nearby. That's a bit like someone loudly proclaiming: "Shoplifting is illegal!" But instead of advocating that no one should do it under any circumstances, he then says: "Oh, but it's fine to nick stuff as long as you run away before being caught."

And I think the event even fails regarding its intention to lessen fear of sharks. That anxiety is palpable in the text of the Facebook page itself:

If we are made aware of any ‘toothy’ tag alongs on our travels, we will exit the water, demonstrating our message of respecting sharks and letting them ‘live where they live.’

So they're clearly worried about this possibility. (And with good reason. West Aussie beaches are being closed almost daily because of the presence of these terrifying creatures.) I mean, if we really had nothing to fear, and the peaceful paddlers want to demonstrate that, then rather than going back to shore after a shark is spotted, they'd all be staying in the water, right?

The last paragraph sums up just how silly the concept is:

The killing of an endangered species is in no way a logical outcome to prevent something that is not a problem to the vast majority of Western Australians.

Woah! The species experiencing the danger in waters off Perth isn't Carcharodon carcharias. It's Homo sapiens. And it is clearly a problem to any West Aussie who goes to the beach because they're all packin' death (as are the guys organizing the event).

On the contrary, the logical solution is the culling strategy. Offing a white pointer that's been prowling popular beaches is not going to make the whole species extinct. And while it doesn't completely remove the risk to swimmers and surfers, it certainly lessens it considerably -- at least until another one comes along.

UPDATE (11th Feb): Actual event has been held.