Case Study - Operation Apex Harmony (Primary)


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Slide 1: Slide
Social StudiesEnglish+34-6 Grade6th,7th Grade

This lesson contains 16 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 3 videos.

time-iconLesson duration is: 20 min


This Case Study connects with our Lessons: Sharks and Shark Poaching. It focuses on our campaign Operation Apex Harmony protecting sharks in Australia.


This Case Study connects with our Lessons: Sharks and Shark Poaching. It focuses on our campaign Operation Apex Harmony protecting sharks in Australia.  

This Case Study takes 25 minutes to complete.

© Sea Shepherd 2021


Items in this lesson


Slide 1 - Slide

This lesson is provided by Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd is a marine conservation organisation with a mission to protect the ocean and marine wildlife.  Sea Shepherd works globally on a range of issues impacting the ocean, running numerous direct action campaigns each year.  Putting a halt to shark culls is one issue Sea Shepherd is working on.

What you already know...
You are going to learn...
Action required!

Evaluate your knowledge

Click on the image

Watch  the video

Slide 2 - Slide

During the lesson we will use these icons to identify the learning actions.
Documenting IUU and by-catch.
Operation Apex Harmony

Slide 3 - Slide

Introducing Operation Apex Harmony
Operation Apex Harmony sheds light on the destructive nature of state-sanctioned shark control programs through investigation, documentation and publication. By bringing this to the attention of the Australian public, the campaign is mobilising support for the long-term protection of sharks under Australia’s environment laws

Slide 4 - Map

The campaign focuses on programs in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.  The map shows the location of Queensland.

Slide 5 - Video

Critical role of sharks
Show this video (1.29min), which explains the importance and critical role of sharks:

Documenting IUU and by-catch.
Monitoring shark nets and drumlines.

Slide 6 - Slide

Using a small boat, the Grey Nurse, Operation Apex Harmony actively monitors and reports on shark nets and drumlines in Queensland and New South Wales.

By bringing transparency to the destructive nature of these programs, which have killed thousands of sharks and rays, hundreds of sea turtles, as well as dolphins and whales, the public in areas affected by these government decisions will be properly informed.  

Slide 7 - Video

Shark nets and drumlines
Show video (1.39min), which shows how marine wildlife gets entangled in nets and lines.

Note: non targeted marine wildlife found alive by authorities are removed and released, or taken to rehabilitation centres for treatment. However authorities do not allow the public or Sea Shepherd to remove wildlife from the nets or lines. Authorities will in fact fine them for interfering with the shark control program.

Documenting IUU and by-catch.
Shark control programs.

Slide 8 - Slide

Queensland and New South Wales Shark Control Programs

Since 1962 the Queensland Government has been killing sharks and other marine life under the Queensland Shark Control Program (QSCP) using shark nets and drumlines.  Nineteen species of sharks are targeted and killed by the QSCP, no matter their size.  Drumlines are also present within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park where three species are targeted for tag and release.

In Queensland 84,000 marine animals died on drumlines or in shark nets from 1962, when statistics started, up to 2004. 

In New South Wales, shark nets have been used since 1937 and are deployed for eight months of the year at 51 beaches across the state. These shark nets are indiscriminate and ineffective, and come at a massive cost to our marine life. Since the program's inception, over 20,000 animals have been caught in New South Wales' nets, with many losing their lives.

Documenting IUU and by-catch.
Migrating whales.

Slide 9 - Slide

Migrating whales
Every winter, the East Coast of Australia celebrates the annual migration of humpback whales travelling past. Shark nets are dangerous and can entangle these whales, and sometimes even kill these iconic animals.

The Queensland shark netting program operates year-round. In 2020 six humpback whales and five in 2019 were entangled in shark nets on the state’s shoreline, in places such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Rainbow Beach – all popular tourist destinations.

New South Wales has recognised the whale killing capacity of shark nets and as a result the state removes them during the four months of the migration season.

Documenting IUU and by-catch.
Target shark species.

Slide 10 - Slide

Targeted shark species
The Queensland Shark Control Program targets 19 species of shark:
➢    2 critically endangered – Greater Hammerhead and Oceanic Whitetip.
➢    3 Endangered – Dusky, Shortfin Mako and Longfin Mako.
➢    4 Vulnerable – Sandbar, Sharptooth, Silvertip and White.
➢    7 Near Threatened – Blacktip, Blue, Bull, Grey Reef, Long nosed, Silky and Tiger.
➢    Other species include – Australian Blacktip, Big Nose, Pigeye,     

Any of these species found on the drumlines or in nets are killed.

Documenting IUU and by-catch.
Western Australia - Shark cull.

Slide 11 - Slide

Western Australia
Operation Apex Harmony began in Australia in 2014 when the Western Australian Government began its shark culling program.  The program began after a number of shark incidents along the Western Australian coast, resulting in deaths.  The governments response was to start killing sharks using drumlines.

Sea Shepherd and the public rallied against this program as a senseless waste of life. It did not provide the public with protection and resulted in non targeted species being killed.

By bringing transparency to the effects of this program, the campaign was a success in September 2014 when the Environmental Protection Authority recommended that the program ceased due to its unknown environmental impacts.

Slide 12 - Video

West Australian Shark Cull
To show the public what was happening in Western Australia and how shark culls work, Sea Shepherd made this documentary.

Video 47.27 min – The Shark Cull:

Sea Shepherd's "THE SHARK CULL" documentary explores the Western Australian shark cull, exposing the brutal cruelty of the controversial program that took place between late January 26 2014 and 30 April 2014.

Warning: Contains video of dead sharks, caught on hooks or being shot by fisheries personnel and contractors as part of the cull.

Do you think drumlines and shark
nets provide the public protection, or are
there better ways to stay safe?

Slide 13 - Open question

Ask students to complete their answers to the following question using the or discuss in classroom.

“Do you think drumlines and shark nets provide the public protection, or are there better ways to stay safe?”

Write down three things you have learned?

Slide 14 - Open question

What did you learn?
Ask students to answer the following question using or discuss in the classroom.  

“Write down three things you have learned?”

Write down one thing you didn't understand?

Slide 15 - Open question

What didn’t you understand?
Ask students to answer the following question using or discuss in the classroom.  

“Write down one thing you didn’t understand?”

Slide 16 - Slide

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