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Another shark fatality in Port St Johns, now most dangerous beach
Note: It is our personal opinion that the Port St John's attacks are not related to Great Whites or chumming, but wish to add the info as it is related content, and certainly cause for concern. - Justin Othersurfa
A 25-year-old man, Lungisani Msungubali, was killed by a shark at Port St Johns Second beach on Sunday, the Eastern Cape health department said. This comes a year to the day that young surfer, Zama, was killed at the same beach.
"This afternoon a swimmer from Port St Johns was attacked by a shark and struggled with it for about five minutes using his surf board," said spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.
"A surfer who was next to him during the ordeal described the swimmer as being brave by fighting it. Unfortunately it injured him severely in both arms and in the chest," he said.
A second eyewitness raised the alarm for other swimmers to leave the water.
"A doctor who was amongst the swimmers tried to save his life along with paramedics who arrived at the beach. The man died on the way to a local health centre."
"Second beach is notorious for shark attacks and I am told that there is no [shark] net there," said Kupelo.
PORT St Johns’s notorious Second Beach now has the worst shark attack record in South Africa , according to the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KNSB).
“Over the past four years, Second Beach has had an increase in shark attacks, making it the worst in the country,” KNSB chairman Geremy Cliff said yesterday .
Cliff and board officials visited the area yesterday following the fatal shark attack on Lungisani Msungubali on Sunday.
The delegation of five met with Port St Johns mayor Mnyamezeli Mangqo, the municipality’s engineering manager Onke Sopela and municipal spokeswoman Nonceba Madikizela to give a report on shark attacks recorded so far.
The KNSB members also met with one of the lifeguards, Nqobile Jojo, who witnessed Sunday’s attack, which now forms part of the study being undertaken by the KNSB.
The board has been commissioned by the national Environmental Affairs Department to investigate the large shark community in Port St Johns to understand what sort of species and circumstances caused the attacks.
Cliff said in previous cases the attacks were confined to the summer months between January and March, which was the most problematic time of the year.
He said most of the previous attacks in Port St Johns were caused by Zambezi sharks, also known as bull sharks. It was suspected the same species attacked Msungubali.
Cliff said Zambezi sharks were attracted to the Port St Johns area because of the large Umzimvubu River , which they used as a breeding ground .
“Zambezi sharks like coastal waters. The females come down to drop their young ones here in Umzimvubu River; they live in rivers because that’s where they feed.”
He said that could be one of the reasons why there were lots of Zambezi sharks in the area and most attacks took place in summer because they liked the warm water.
Although the board had for years been toying with an idea of installing shark nets to halt further attacks, yesterday it became clear this was out of the question for Second Beach.
KNSB chief scientist Sheldon Dudley said nets had a negative impact on the environment and were therefore not suitable for Port St Johns.
He said they were reducing the nets in KwaZulu-Natal.
At this stage Dudley said they could not say what the best solution for the problem would be, but people needed to take precautions.
“Risks of attacks are high when the water is dirty because the sharks cannot see anything but can sense through smell and movements.”
Dudley said it would take the team two weeks to confirm what sort of shark attacked Msungubali .
Mayor Mnyamezeli Mangqo said Second Beach was closed to the public and would be opened after KNSB completed their study.
9 December 2011
'Nelson Mandela Bay (PE) urges fishing ban amidst chumming concerns'
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (Port Elizabeth) is currently considering an urgent ban on fishing close to recreational beaches after it became apparent that chumming, a custom of throwing cut-up fish in the sea to catch sharks, is take place close to surfing, paddling and swimming areas. The Municipality’s Beach Office recommended a ban on angling from Kings Beach (Southern) Harbour Wall to Flat Rock (Beacon) and other beaches located 500m away from lifeguard demarcated bathing areas, such as Bluewater Bay, St Georges Strand, Brighton Beach and Wells Estate. Wild Side beaches such as Maitlands, Blue Horizon Bay and Van Stadens River Mouth are also included. A public participation process will be started as soon as possible to ensure that all stakeholders have an opportunity to give input and direction on this matter. However, this does not mean that a complete ban on fishing will be implemented, since angling will still be allowed from Beacon down towards Willows, Shoenmakerskop and outside bathing areas where lifeguards are on duty. A decision was also taken that chumming or fishing close to recreational facilities will be monitored closely with CCTV footage to ensure compliance.
1 November 2011
'The Butterfly Effect - Ripple effects of the Great White Shark'
When I was 16 years old I won the annual Fish Hoek Mile swim. I was a Fish Hoek junior lifesaver at the time, and the 1.5 km swim across the bay from Clovelly to Sunnycove was a regular item on the training schedule for competitive swimmers in the team. Another was swimming out and around The Tudor House buoy some 200 metres out in the bay. Not forgetting the many surf sessions I lived for on weekends at Clovelly Wedge and out in front of the Silvermine River. It’s where I caught my first foamy, where I learnt to be ocean savvy as a grom, learnt the fine art of bodysurfing, and where I learnt to save lives. I literally grew up in the water and on the beach of Fish Hoek. Today you wouldn’t dream of swimming out into the bay, let alone swim across it with just your speedo on.
With all the speculation and sensationalism surrounding the great white sharks these days, it is easy to get caught up in the negative and frightening elements surrounding these imposing creatures. Sure they are dangerous, and as an apex predator that has survived millennia they should be respected and revered, but let’s not hate, despise and want to kill them. What we need is a plan, one that protects both humanity and nature, and brings about an innate balance we can both flourish in.
How many of you have stopped to consider how rich False Bay has become over the past 15 years? And I’m not talking about the millionaire houses that pepper Boyes Drive. It wasn’t until I spoke to freediver and Adventurer, Hanli Prinsloo the other night, that I began to appreciate and accept a simpler and more natural reason for the increase in recent shark activity. “We have one of the richest and most dynamic marine reserves in the world” Hanli points out. “Life in the bay has flourished since it became a reserve in 1998. 15-20 years ago, the Great White shark was on the brink of extinction, but since it became a protected species, it has flourished in the safety of False Bay.”
And it is not just the shark population that has thrived. “I’ve never seen bait balls like I did this year” points out Brandon Kilbride; surfer, paddler and lifeguard at Fish Hoek Lifesaving club. “It was like having the East Coast sardine run, but permanently in the bay between March and September!” Paddlers often report seeing pods of dolphin 50-1000 strong, and even watched on in awe as a pod of killer whales made their way past the St. James tidal pool recently. False Bay is alive and abundant with marine life, so it only makes sense that there are more great whites than normal, and that these sharks and others will on occasion find themselves closer to our shores in search of food. Unfortunately it is during these shallow-water visits that the unthinkable can and sometimes does happen.
Like a pebble being dropped into the ocean, dramatic events like these have a profound ripple effect on more than just the people immediately involved.
Most disturbing is the drop in participation in aspirational watersports like surfing, lifesaving and paddling, and the subsequent loss of income for all those businesses connected. Owner of The Surf Shack in Muizenberg, David Chudleigh, reports a 50% decrease in surf school attendance and correlating income, comparing figures to that of 2006. World-renowned paddler, Dawid Mocke, has seen a 60% loss in numbers for his surf ski school at Fish Hoek, and has had to relocate to Simons Town. Dawid uses False Bay more than any one person I can think of, bar perhaps Kalk Bay Reef diehard Andrew Wilsnagh, spending on average four hours every day in or on the water. “It has become increasing difficult to train, and has definitely been on my mind more lately” reflects Dawid. For a man who relies so heavily on the safe use of Fish Hoek and False Bay, the ripples effects of the great white sharks have definitely hit him hard. But amazingly, or perhaps just because he is Dawid Mocke, he remains positive and optimistic. “Naturally the “real” risk factor has increased which is of concern, but it is the “perceived” risk that is exponentially higher due to media hype that is most worrying for us,” he explains. “But on the positive side, when has Fish Hoek ever received so much attention? With over a million You Tube hits, Fish Hoek is on the map more than ever. Hopefully we can use this to our advantage through tourism, but in a responsible and environmentally conscious way. More importantly, we as South Africans are leading the field in global environmental protection and awareness of the great white shark,” explains Dawid. He ends off on a chilling note though, stating: “It is almost impossible to surf at Fish Hoek these days.”
Fish Hoek lifesaving club has been equally hard hit, recording a 25% drop in lifesaving attendance, and finds itself unable to train or host competitions due to the high number of shark sightings. These in turn dramatically affect its earning potential, and effectiveness as a lifesaving club. Fish Hoek Lifesaving club is one of the leading lifesaving clubs in South Africa and the world, with scores of national and international accolades gracing engraved trophies and bronzed plaques throughout the clubhouse. What does the future hold for this respected and much needed lifesaving club? How much will the City of Cape Town lose from the decrease in tourism this summer at Fish Hoek Beach? How much will small businesses lose across the board? Where do we go from here?
It was questions like these that recently had affected parties meeting at Fish Hoek Lifesaving. Heads of Fish Hoek Lifesaving, NSRI, Shark Spotters, SPCA, Cape Town City Council, Fish Hoek Ratepayers, representatives from ‘Surfers for Responsible Shark Cage Diving’, members of the surfing and paddling community, and ocean entrepreneurs met to discuss viable, sustainable and eco-friendly options moving forward. The mood of the meeting was positive, with some very constructive suggestions being put forward. Ideas like a tidal pool on Fish Hoek beach for bathers and pressurising operators of the controversial shark cage diving industry to fund research.
Paul Botha, who has been involved with public relations in surfing for decades, was among the group. He had the following the say: “This (shark problem) does not affect the hardcore surfer so much as the general public and weekend surfer. Hardcore surfers have the option of surfing more advanced spots with less sharks. But the basic premise is that we do have a big problem on our hands. The Shark Spotter program is a good start, but Council needs to properly fund them, and invest some real money into research and prevention. I just feel that Council have not been proactive enough in tackling this.”
Paul proposes having a rapid response team available on standby for shark sightings close to our beaches. The team would deploy their 4x4 and jetski upon notification by the shark spotters, and proceed to identify the shark, before “buzzing” him out of the area. Accordingly to experts, great whites sharks are easily identifiable, and resent studies have indicated 250-280 individual great white sharks operating in the False Bay area. “If we can gather more information on which sharks are in the area consistently, perhaps we can even learn if certain individual sharks are actively after humans. We could then decide what to do from there. If there is even one, there is a case to be made (for more direct action).”
Paul ended off with reiterating the fact that we need council to properly fund a shark program in Cape Town. “Durban has an entire infrastructure in place for shark activity and monitoring. With all due respect, what do we have? A few whistles and some coloured flags.”
31 October 2011
The damning Aussie Govt Study on effects of chum + Great White Sharks
The effects of berleying on the distribution and behaviour of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, at the Neptune Islands, South Australia, August 2011
A study by Barry Bruce and Russell Bradford of the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources South Australia
Cage diving at Neptune Islands
Seas and sealions (pinnipeds) form part of a white shark’s annual diet, and sharks may spend from days to months per year at pinniped colonies. Between these visits they travel to other locations seeking other sources of prey. They can swim thousands of kilometres, from temperate to tropical waters, and across the open ocean during these annual travels.
Pinniped colonies that are regularly visited by white sharks can be ideal for shark-viewing tourism. White shark cage diving activities are established near to such pinniped colonies in South Africa, Mexico, California and Australia.
In Australia, white shark cage diving occurs only at the Neptune Islands Group Marine Park (60–70 km south of Port Lincoln, South Australia) comprising the North and South Neptune Islands.These islands host Australia’s largest pinniped aggregation.
Commercial tour operators involved in white shark cage diving must be licensed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 and, if berleying to attract sharks, must have an exemption under the Fisheries Act 1982.
In South Australia, shark cage diving provides an opportunity to view white sharks in their environment.The sharks are commonly attracted to the viewing vessel through the use of berley (chum), a mix of chopped or minced fish and fish oil. Berleying attracts sharks that are already present in the area to the shark cage-dive vessel and increases the chances of a shark being seen.
Increased frequency of berleying
The shark cage diving industry has worked under a Code of Practice since 2004 to ensure that its operations minimise negative impacts on sharks. Permit requirements also restrict the type of berley than can be used to fish-based products only and these products must be kept refrigerated prior to use.
Days of berleying activity in the SA shark-cage diving industry had remained reasonably stable at an annual average of 128 days from 2000 to 2007. However, the number of days of berleying activity at the Neptune Islands significantly increased after 2007, reaching 270 days in 2009–2010. Berleying activity increased over this time both within the main bay at North Neptune Island and at a second site outside of the bay.
This increase in berleying activity has caused some concern as wildlife tourism that attracts or rewards the target animals, such as through provisioning (feeding), can cause changes in behaviour.Worldwide experience suggests that such changes in behaviour, if they occur, can often have negative consequences for the target animal.
Increasing interest from potential new operators to enter the SA shark cage dive industry combined with concerns regarding the potential for negative impacts on sharks from berleying operations, prompted the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) to set research on the impact of berleying on shark behaviour at the Neptune Islands as a high priority. Such research was also consistent with objectives under the National recovery plan for white sharks as a listed threatened species under Australia’s Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
White shark research at the North Neptune Islands
The North Neptune Islands is a key site for many white sharks in Australian waters and have been the focus of CSIRO-based research on white shark movement patterns, behaviour and habitat use since 1993.
Sharks tagged with electronic tags (satellite, archival and acoustic) have been tracked from the Neptune Islands to Exmouth in north-western Western Australia and to Rockhampton in central Queensland. Sharks tagged with other (non-electronic) tags at The Neptune Islands have also crossed theTasman Sea to New Zealand.
A 2001–2003 CSIRO study at the North Neptune Islands found that the level of berleying at that time had a localised and short-term effect on the distribution and behaviour of sharks and that the effects were concentrated in the bay of the main island where most berleying and shark cage diving activities occurred. Having the results of this initial study provided an opportunity to examine if white shark behaviour had changed at the North Neptune Islands since the 2007 increase in berleying effort.
Acoustic monitoring study: 2010–2011
The purpose of the 2010–2011 study was to see if there had been any changes in the amount of time (residency) white sharks spent at the Neptune Islands since the previous study in 2001–2003 and if there had been any changes in their movement patterns or behaviour.The 2010–2011 study observed the movements of 21 tagged white sharks ranging from 2.8 metres to 4.8 m. The sharks were tagged with acoustic transmitters each of which produces a unique signal that can be identified by moored acoustic receivers.
The presence/absence of individual tagged sharks was monitored by arrays of acoustic receivers at both the North and South the Neptune Islands from December 2009 to April 2011.These receivers were removed at the end of the study so that the data they collected could be examined.These were complemented by monitoring data from a single satellite- linked acoustic receiver maintained inside the main bay at the North Neptune Islands since 2008.The satellite linked receiver automatically sends information on sharks present in the bay each week to researchers at CSIRO in Hobart. Daily logbook records of shark cage dive operator activities from 1999–2011 were also used in the analysis to identify when operators were present and to monitor the number of sharks sighted each day.
Acoustic receivers identical to those used in this study also form a network of stations around the Australian coast as part of the Commonwealth Government funded Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).The acoustic receivers form part of the Australian AnimalTracking and Monitoring System (http://imos.org.au/aatams.html) and allow researchers to monitor the long- term movements of tagged sharks after they leave the Neptune Islands.
The tagging procedure
Acoustic tags were attached to a small stainless steel arrow head by a short tether. Sharks were attracted to the vessel using fish-based berley and tags were attached externally to each shark as they swam past by using a tagging pole.
What did the monitoring reveal?
General shark movements
As seen in previous research, white sharks tagged during the study were found to be temporary residents of the Neptune Islands. Despite berleying, sharks continue to arrive and leave the Neptune Islands. As in previous years, the number of sharks present at any one time was highly variable.There were some periods when no sharks were present.These patterns are probably driven by differences in the ocean conditions between years and seasons.
Increased berleying has not led to sharks taking up patterns of permanent residency and sharks left the Neptunes Group for other destinations across their Australian range during the study period. For example, three tagged sharks were detected by acoustic receivers moving through south-western Western Australia after leaving the Neptune Islands during the course of the study.
When resident to the Neptune Islands area, some sharks made return transits between the North and South Neptune Islands which are 12 km apart. This occurred regardless of berleying activity and appears to be normal behaviour for sharks in this area.
Changes in shark behaviour
Despite sharks continuing to arrive and depart the Neptune Islands during berleying periods, the 2010-2011 study identified some significant changes in shark behaviour at the North Neptune Islands since berleying effort and regularity increased in 2007.
These changes in behaviour were not observed at the South Neptune Islands where berleying effort has not markedly changed since 2007.
The study found the following changes in the way sharks used the Neptune Islands:
The average amount of time (residency period) that individual sharks spend at the North Neptune Islands has increased from 11 days in 2001- 2003 to 21 days in 2010-2011.
The average number of consecutive days (visits) spent at North Neptune Island during residency periods has increased from 2 days in 2001-2003 to 6.5 days in 2010-2011.
The average number of sharks seen by operators has increased from 2.2 per day prior to 2007 to 3.4 per day after 2007.This does not mean that the abundance of sharks has increased but reflects that they are staying for longer periods and that each individual is seen more often.
The daily movements of sharks has changed to more closely match the arrival and departure of shark cage dive operators, so that now sharks arrive in the berleying areas at about the time operators arrive and leave the area after the operators leave.This pattern now occurs on days where operators are present and also on days when they are not present.
Why is it important to take notice of these changes?
These observations all suggest that berleying operations have changed the way sharks use the environment at the North Neptune Islands.
At present, there is no evidence to suggest that these changes have been harmful to the sharks or that they may lead to changes in their behaviour at any other location. Many of the sharks also visited South Neptune Island and their behaviour at that site was not significantly different to the behaviour of sharks in the 2001–2003 study.
Understanding the impacts of such changes is complicated because each shark is only a temporary visitor to the Neptune Islands and thus is only exposed to berleying for the short time they are there. Also, although berleying provides an attraction for sharks, by itself it provides no reward in the form of food. Small ‘teaser’ baits used by operators to lure sharks closer to the vessel offer some form or reward but this is small compared to the source of natural prey in the area.
Research in other areas of the world has identified that a variety of problems can occur where marine wildlife has been attracted for tourism purposes. For white sharks and their environment at the Neptune Islands, this may include increased aggression between sharks if more sharks remain on site, distraction by tourism activities resulting in fewer opportunities to feed on seals and sealions, changes in predation pressure on seals and sealions, sharks provisioning on a food source (teaser baits) that is not as nutritious as their natural prey and increasing the abundance of fish life that can feed on the small particles that make up berley. These problems can lead to unintentional impacts on the overall health of sharks and to changes in the ecology of the area.
White sharks are a listed threatened species and protected in Australian waters. Minimising identified impacts on them and the environment within which they reside is important, particularly when the implications of such impacts are unknown.
In the case of shark cage diving, all parameters measured in this study suggest that berleying operations have changed the way sharks use the area at the North Neptune Islands. Reducing the impacts of these operations on sharks is thus important to ensure that there are no long-term negative effects on sharks visiting this area or the marine ecosystem of the region.
The challenge for government agencies and the SA industry will be to reduce the impact of shark cage diving on sharks and the ecosystem while maintaining a world-class diving experience that contributes significantly to the local economy and provides a platform for education, research and conservation. Achieving this balance has the potential to provide a benchmark for managing cage-diving tourism worldwide.
The study makes the following recommendations:
Reduce berleying/provisioning effort
The current level of berleying should be reduced, or at least capped, to minimise further behavioural changes.‘Teaser’ baits should be of a minimum size required to be effective and all reasonable efforts should be made to minimise the number of baits taken by sharks.
On-going monitoring of shark behaviour
Shark residency periods, duration of visits and daily patterns of movements should continue to be monitored to evaluate the sharks’ response to any mitigation actions and enable feedback to managing agencies and industry to ensure such actions are effective.
The most cost-effective monitoring approach would be to maintain the satellite-linked receiver at the North Neptune Islands and to continue to tag sharks with acoustic tags. Additional satellite receivers should be installed at the second berleying site at the North Neptune Islands and at South Neptune Island, (the latter to compare shark behaviour).
Education and awareness program
The shark cage dive industry in South Australia should be provided with educational material for clients that explains:
shark ecology, movements and conservation
the risks posed to sharks by excessive berleying or provisioning;
the importance of minimising the impact of shark cage diving on sharks and the environment; and
the industry and management actions used to achieve this.
The last month has seen an incredible amount of Press relating to Shark Cage Diving with Chum, due in part to the unfortunate incident at Fish Hoek beach last month involving a British national. A study by the Oz Government confirming the link between chumming and behaviour modification, and their subsequent culling of their own small SCD industry has also had a major impact.
We have had numerous journalists from the UK, US and SA contacting us for comment. Add this to a feature in the Big Issue (big up Clayton Truscott), and plenty of copy in SA's number one surfmag ZigZag. A special big-up to Will Bendix, the hard-serving editor in chief of the Zag. Will has held a very objective point of view regarding the issue, and after much research has had the cajones to write a thought-provoking 'personal perspective' on chum, sharks and surfers, in SA's most read surf publication. Respect!
On the think-tank side of things we are uber stoked to welcome an Honours Ecology student, environmental activist and surfrider, we'll call her Justine Othersurfa for now. Justine is helping us put together a White Paper with the purpose to have a few key lines of Legislation ammended, and this will form a major breakthrough in how responsibly the Cage Dive operations run. Basically the first phase in our ECO plan mentioned earlier. There is a huge amount of research and documentation required to put the paper together in the correct format, and while the surf is down if any of our members out there have a spare hour and want to contribute this is how you can also help;
We are collecting as much statistical data as possible
- Great White Shark tourism
- Legislation regarding Baboons and feeding
- Any info relating to ECO's (Environmental compliance Officers) and commercial use of Nature areas
The website is generating a steady increase in traffic, averaging over a 1000 visits a month, and Facebook friends are increasing by around 2 a week. This should be more, as we are all affected. Get your surfer friends onboard and suggest Justin Othersurfa as a friend.
Our last batch of TShirts flew out, and we are in the process of ordering a new print-run. We'd like to get as many orders together to save on admin. T's are a measly R60, good quality and a good cause.
Best feedback of late, courtesy Cape Town screw-foot Alan Robb; "
Look how attacks affect local business... shark spotting landlubbers may have been clogging the road at certain places along the Berg to Fish Hoek drag, but with the beaches closed after the last incident, I will bet a lot less people spent money in the area. Newspapers were sold, advertisers scrambled into position, but on the whole, people lost out. With international studies showing that chumming is not a beneficial interference by man, when will the money-making practices of shark cage diving operators be brought to a halt for the greater good? Phew!"
That's it for now, watch this space!
11 October 2011
Ozzie Government Study confirms Cage Diving operations lead to change in Great White behaviour, and plans to cull industry!
'Shark feeding frenzy may become thing of the past : Fish mix blamed for altering the behaviour of great whites' - Watch the ABC NEWS feature below
7 October 2011
Living With Sharks
Can we co-exist with our ocean's apex predators? Researcher Alison Kock examines our relationship with sharks.
“We are not afraid of predators, we’re transfixed by them, prone to weave stories and fables and chatter endlessly about them, because fascination creates preparedness, and preparedness, survival. In a deeply tribal way, we love our monsters…” E.O. Wilson, sociobiologist
Cape waters are home to one of the largest concentrations of great white sharks in the world. Fossil records, like the discoveries of preserved teeth found on the Cape flats, reveal their presence here for thousands of years. The earliest records of interactions between people and sharks in Cape Town are more than 100 years old. More recently research tells us that areas like False Bay are most likely critical habitats for the South African population, meaning the sharks depend on this area for their survival. But, surviving on the doorstep of a major city, with a population of 3.5 million people, may just be the biggest problem these animals have to face.
Sharks have problems too
Great white sharks are without a doubt one of the most successful predators on the planet, but one of nature’s most triumphant designs did not factor in the negative impacts that humans, in the role of a dominant species, can have on them. As apex predators, sharks sit atop the food chain and with no natural enemies, shark numbers are designed to be low. Ironically, given their rule over the sea, this means they are particularly vulnerable to the way human’s fish and sometimes over-fish. Sharks are designed to mature slowly (taking up to 15 years), and produce few successful young (every two to three years). In areas where their populations have been depleted they are slow to recover to natural numbers.
The great white is fully protected in seven countries, including South Africa.
Due to evidence of declining white shark populations around the world, these sharks are afforded some of the highest protections of any fish in the sea. Today, the great white is fully protected in seven countries, including South Africa. International conventions also protect the great white, with listings on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS), and in the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The authority on which species face the most likely path to extinction, the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, identifies white sharks as globally “Vulnerable”. The message from the international community is great white sharks are at risk of extinction.
Why do we need great whites at all?
Great whites keep the ocean balanced.
Great whites keep the ocean balanced. They feed on a variety of animals including numerous species of fish (in Cape Town those include yellowtail, steenbras and cob), other sharks (smooth hounds and guitar sharks), marine mammals (seals) and they even scavenge on dead whales. Furthermore, great whites are often the primary, and sometimes only, predators of some of the larger prey animals like seals. This means that there is a cascading effect in the ocean between the way sharks keep a balance of their prey and the hundreds of different species that are impacted (ecological dominoes if you will), and thus play vital roles in ecosystem function and biodiversity. Furthermore, studies around the world are increasingly highlighting the important role that sharks play. Without sharks, economically important fisheries have closed and there are losses to eco-tourism ventures, particularly important in countries dependent on tourism. Moreover, great white sharks are now celebrated as one of our “Big Seven”. They are an iconic species and a feature of our local and natural heritage, which we have a duty to preserve.
Shark nets, hunts and culling
Human-wildlife conflicts are difficult, but nothing new in Africa. Despite this, Africans have a proud history of dealing with this and respecting nature, and it is thus surprising to me that people still ask why we can’t just go out and kill the shark responsible.
Leading conservation managers from around the world advocate that we look for solutions to human-wildlife conflicts that provide a balance between human needs and that of our natural assets. Culling programmes like the implementation of shark nets (which are gill nets designed to catch and kill sharks), drumlines, shark hunts and other extractive methods go hand-in-hand with high environmental costs. These traditional approaches to human-wildlife conflicts are increasingly being criticized on the world stage as being out-dated, and short-sighted. New Zealand took down its shark nets this year and a local professor stated, “The notion that we need to kill any animal that might place us at risk when we enter the water is a totally unacceptable attitude in the modern world.” California and Florida also face the same kinds of issues we do and they have refused shark nets.
“The notion that we need to kill any animal that might place us at risk when we enter the water is a totally unacceptable attitude in the modern world.”
If we’d like to see what happens when top predators are removed, we only need to look to what has happened on land: one of the best examples comes from the western U. S. where gray wolf populations were hunted to local extinction, which resulted in negative cascading effects throughout the ecosystem and a subsequent re-introduction of wolves was needed to attempt to regain the balance between predators and their prey.
Above and beyond this, shark hunts or “selective culling” are scientifically proven to be ineffective at capturing the shark responsible or reducing shark-human encounters. A good example is Hawaii, where a shark control program ran in different parts of the state for years, costing thousands of dollars, and concluded that it was not reducing the rate of shark bites. Instead, we see taxpayer funds spent often to placate the public rather than find workable, long-term solutions.
The Save Our Seas Foundation opposes the implementation of shark nets, shark hunts or culling by other means. Shark nets have been declared a “key threatening process” by international bodies because they catch marine life indiscriminately. This includes endangered white sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales. In Cape Town, these methods would be particularly devastating because these waters are a natural gathering spot (in science-speak it’s called an “aggregation area”) for sharks. What this means is that shark nets and hunts have the potential to deplete Cape Town’s regional shark populations. These concerns are strongly supported by leading shark scientists from around the world.
Great white sharks, like all animals, are individuals with individual behaviours and characteristics. As the largest of predatory fish, reaching six meters, they don’t have much to fear and are confident and curious animals. They have large brains and display complex hunting and social behaviour. Great whites are not mindless feeding machines and are selective in what they eat, often preferring high calorific food, like blubber, over muscle. They are capable of migrating thousands of kilometers across ocean basins; only to return months later to the exact area they were last recorded. They are equally as capable of residing in one area for months at a time and timing their arrival at seal colonies to predate on naïve seals. But, great whites don’t just travel and swim around searching for food, they also hang out with one another, interact with other ocean creatures like whales, and spend time simply taking a rest from it all. For example, our research team once tracked a shark for 24 hours non-stop and all it did was swim at the surface, mingle with other white sharks in the area and swim slowly in a circle no more than 2 km ² (Check out the Google track). In Fish Hoek recently the sharks have displayed a combination of all of these behaviours.
That great whites have always been in the Cape is without question, however, we need to remember that our oceans are dynamic ecosystems and constantly changing. Animals respond to their external environment and some of these responses include distributional changes. Great whites will respond favourably to an abundance of natural prey, as it makes them easier to catch, like they do by timing their movements to co-incide with the abundance of naïve seals over the winter time. Spring and summer offer schools of steenbras, yellowtail and bottom dwelling sharks, genuine great white favourites. Even over the short period of our research we have distinguished that not all years are equal. We have noted inter-annual changes in the numbers of sharks using the bay, differences in arrival and departure times and differences in the amounts of time they use the bay. Reaching over 45 years old there are cycles in regional and local movement patterns which we don’t fully understand yet. But we are learning more than ever before and this will help us educate bathers and recreational water users.
There isn’t a shred of evidence to support the rogue shark theory.
One thing we do know is that reality and fiction of shark behavior is tested following shark attacks. If you are an avid monster movie watcher like me then you know all about rogue animals. But, the reality is that there isn’t a shred of evidence to support the rogue shark theory. In fact, the more we learn about sharks, the more the rogue shark theory only survives as part of a B-grade movie. The recent incident in Fish Hoek continues to punch holes in the theory. Shark Spotters recorded great whites in Fish Hoek bay everyday for four days in a row leading up to the tragic incident in Clovelly corner. Up to three different sharks were seen at one time in the area. Quite simply, they are being drawn to this particular area at this time because the area itself fulfils a specific requirement, not the people. The region provides an abundance of natural prey, but is also possibly an area to rest, travel through or socialize in. What we do know is that sharks are not coming to Fish Hoek for us.
In this most recent tragic case, the Shark Spotting system functioned well. Shark sighted, siren sounded, beach cleared, shark-presence flag flown. Many people got out the water and went to sit next to the spotters observing the sharks from above doing what sharks do naturally. Their behaviour described as swimming leisurely at the surface, or circling and even feeding in front of the Silvermine River mouth. At the time of the incident on the 28 September 2011 there were at least two sharks in the immediate area. Mr. Cohen entered the water under these conditions, swam about hundred meters parallel to shore on a collision course with an approaching great white. The behaviour described by the Shark Spotter Ashley Sullivan and eyewitness, Kyle James, suggests that the shark swam slowly around Mr. Cohen, swam up behind him and took a bite, before slowly swimming away.
This incident provides good evidence that in this case the shark made an exploratory bite, possibly investigating whether the swimmer was something to eat or not. While the bite inflicted severe damage, this is not the behavior that we see from sharks when they attack a seal or other prey. If we compare this to a recent video taken by Stuart Dawes, a resident of Noordhoek, two days after the incident one can clearly see the fast swimming, and repeated quick changes in direction of a great white chasing a Cape fur seal at the surface which we expect to see.
The reality of shark-human interactions
Great whites didn’t evolve into the successful predators they are today by randomly swimming around and ignoring unfamiliar objects. Having spent thousands of hours studying them in Cape Town, tagging and tracking them, cataloguing which animals are present and how long they stay for, and even attaching small animal-borne cameras to them I am constantly amazed at how curious, opportunistic and investigatory they are. Their curiosity makes it all the more important to note how few shark-human interactions there are. We go into the water in large numbers and over long periods of time, yet shark bites on people are rare.
My parents fostered my respect of our oceans and its creatures and I recognize the enormous value sharks bring to our local region. But, at the same time, it would be irresponsible for those of us educating the public on the role of sharks, with specific reference to large predatory sharks, to portray them as harmless or to lose our respect for them as predators. A number of people have demonstrated that diving alongside great whites under specific conditions is possible which help break down the “maneater” stereotypes, however, it would be foolish to forget that great whites are formidable predators and potentially dangerous to people.
Into the future
Sharks live in the sea; therefore, as long as people enter the sea the two will encounter one another. Our relationship with sharks is a comparatively new one, unlike our relationship with land predators, and as a good friend said to me recently “the ocean seems to be getting smaller for all of us”. We need to learn from our mistakes on land, and look for innovative ways to reduce wild-life human conflict. Research and awareness are key components of a safety strategy, but it’s also essential that we keep our fingers on the pulse of potential new solutions which become available and continuously investigate and test workable and environmentally conscious ways of addressing the issue. The Save Our Seas Foundation is committed to staying informed of the technologies available and supporting projects that aim to find suitable solutions.
Finally, to answer the question on whether people and large sharks can co-exist; I believe we answer ‘yes’ to that question every day.
ALISON KOCK is the lead investigator of the white shark research programme in False Bay, a member of the Save Our Seas Foundation scientific committee, a doctoral student at the University of Cape Town completing a thesis on the behaviour and ecology of great white sharks and the scientific manager for the Cape Town based Shark Spotters programme.
The SAVE OUR SEAS FOUNDATION is committed to protecting our oceans by funding research, education, awareness and conservation projects focusing on the major threats to the marine environment. Furthermore, the Foundation is committed to playing a positive role in the global conservation of great white shark populations and currently supports six white shark projects around the world. http://saveourseas.com
The SHARK SPOTTERS programme is a pioneering shark safety programme that has attracted international and local attention because of the novel way it seeks to find a pro-active solution to shark-human conflict on the Cape Peninsula. http://www.sharkspotters.org.za
28 September 2011 Another shark attack in Fish Hoek
Swimmer ignores Shark Spotter warnings and is lucky to survive attack by 4-5m Great White at Clovelly Corner, Fish Hoek.
The City of Cape Town has released the official version of the shark attack yesterday, when Michael Cohen was critically injured while swimming off Fish Hoek beach. This well researched document contains facts and eye witness accounts.
CITY OF CAPE TOWN OFFICIAL REPORT OF INCIDENT
REPORT AND REVIEW OF EVENTS AT FISH HOEK BEACH AFTER GREAT WHITE SHARK INCIDENT
As a result of the incident at Fish Hoek beach yesterday, 28 September. The City of Cape Town has compiled a report of the incident which is below for information:
At approximately 12.30 on Wednesday 28 September 2011, a 43 year old male, Mr. Michael Cohen was bitten and severely injured by a Great White Shark near Clovelly Corner, Fish Hoek beach while swimming. The victim sustained severe injuries which included the loss of his right leg and severe damage to his left foot.
The purpose of the review is to establish:
The facts and ensure that the correct information is provided to authorities as well as the public
Assess whether any reasonable actions could have been done to prevent the attack
Identify areas / aspects that need to be improved to reduce the chance of further attacks
Provide a detailed account of the events for the record
Shark Bite Details
The following account of the events leading up to the attack, the attack itself as well as the emergency response has been compiled based on interviews conducted on 28 September with all parties involved.
Although the accounts from various witnesses vary to some degree, as expected following a traumatic event, the following may be considered as an accurate description of the events leading up to as well as the shark bite and emergency response thereafter.
The Shark Spotters first sighted two Great White Sharks at 9.15. The alarm was sounded and the beach closed and the white flag raised. Once the sharks had moved back out the bay the Red Warning Flag was raised as per standard safety protocol.
At approximately 10.50 Shark Spotters re-sighted two Great White Sharks for the second time within Fish Hoek Bay. As per protocol the shark siren was again sounded, the beach cleared of swimmers and the shark flag raised. In both cases, sms notification of the sighting was distributed via the Disaster Risk Management (DRM) notification system.
At around 12.25 the mountain Shark Spotter saw a swimmer enter the water near the Clovelly Corner area. The spotter tried to sound the alarm, but due to a Eskom related city-wide electricity failure the alarm did not sound. The spotter notified his colleague on the beach as well as Monwabisi Sikweyiya, the Shark Spotting operations manager by radio. The beach spotter began to run toward Clovelly corner to warn the swimmer while Monwabisi drove to Clovelly corner.
Just after 12.25, according to eye witness Kyle James, a large shark casually and slowly approached the swimmer. At this point the swimmer was swimming parallel to the beach in a southerly direction just off the brown water emanating from the Silvermine River mouth. The shark approached the man from behind who was unaware of the sharks’ presence. The shark lunged for the swimmer, shook him once, then let go and moved off 5 to 10 metres away. Two beach goers, Mr. Douglas Drysdale, 61, from Glencairn Heights, and Mr Hugh Till, 66, from Fish Hoek entered the water and assisted Mr Cohen to shore. Before entering the water they called emergency services. At this time, Monwabisi Sikweyiya arrived on the scene and immediately began first aid measures. Monwabisi removed his own belt and applied it as a tourniquet, elevated the victim’s leg and removed his shorts, which he used to stem the blood loss. Monwabisi immediately called Mr Ian Kloppers of the NSRI and EMS services who initiated emergency response. A helicopter was dispatched while Monwabisi and the two rescuers stayed with and stabilised the victim. SMS notification of the attack was distributed to City officials and relevant authorities via the DRM notification system and City officials were alerted of the attack within 4 minutes of it occurring.
Once emergency services landed on the beach, the victim was stabilised further and medi-vacted by helicopter to Constantiaberg Hospital.
The manager of the Shark Spotting Programme was on site and coordinating a response within 5 minutes of the attack. City officials from Environmental Management, Sport Recreation and Amenities as well as from Law Enforcement were all on site within 20 minutes of the attack taking place. A scientist from the Shark Spotting Programme and Save Our Seas Shark Centre was on site within 20 minutes to record and collate information on the incident. Fish Hoek lifesaving club members were alerted to the attack within 10 minutes of the event taking place and launched their rescue rubber duck.
Actual Eye Witness Accounts
Ashley– Shark Spotter account
The man was swimming parallel to shore in front of the river outfall at the time of the incident, in shallow water no more than 50 meters from shore. There were two Great White Sharks in the vicinity, a smaller one about “2 – 3 meters” and a larger one “4 -5 meters”. The larger shark was swimming towards the swimmer on the inside of the swimmer between the swimmer and the shore in very shallow water. The second, smaller shark was a fair distance away from the swimmer. The shark swam past the swimmer into deeper water and made a large circle around him at a relaxed pace. The shark swam up behind the swimmer and then bit his legs. Contrary to preliminary reports of multiple bites, there was only one bite and then the shark released the man and swam away. At that stage Ashley stopped tracking the shark and concentrated on the swimmer and two rescuers who had entered the water. They pulled the man to shore where Monwabisi started administering first aid to the victim.
Kyle James – eyewitness walking by at the time of the incident
Kyle was walking from Kalk Bay to Clovelly when he saw a man swimming in Clovelly corner. He then saw a dark shadow about “3.5 - 4 meters” swimming slowly behind the swimmer. He recognised the dark shape as a shark. He describes the shark as swimming slowly up to the swimmer and when it was about 2 meters away it “jerked forward” biting the man on the legs. He described the shark raising slightly out of the water and giving one bite and then swimming slowly away again. He said the incident couldn’t have lasted more than 15 seconds. He describes the shark swimming slowly away and then pausing a few meters away from the victim. After the pause the shark kept on swimming slowly away. Kyle saw a seal (possibly two), close to the victim at the time of the incident and thought that the seal was “trying to help the man”. However, seals are highly equipped physically and behaviourally to avoid sharks. This observed behaviour is more likely explained by the seal avoiding the shark and using the man as a refuge like they do with kelp and other floating objects
At the time of the attack, seas were calm, visibility was good and the wind was blowing in a gentle south-westerly direction. The shark was visible to the spotter at all times since the first sighting of the day at 10.50.
Status of Equipment at the time of the attack
The following was verified through this review:
The shark alarm was in working order and had been sounded at 10.50
There was a general electricity outage at the time of the attack
All radios were in working order
The shark flag was flying
All general beach shark signage was in place and functional
The victim was known to the Shark Spotters and had previously repeatedly ignored verbal warnings by the spotters to adhere to the shark warnings and beach closures. The victim’s car was parked in the main parking area at Fish hoek beach indicating that he had accessed the beach from the well signposted area where the shark warning flag was flying. He had informed the car guards of where his car keys were hidden in the event that something happened to him. Victim was wearing navy blue swimming shorts and black goggles, and had bangles on one arm and a watch on the other. Victim was swimming between the shore and breakers (not behind breakers).
General awareness on Great White Shark seasonal migration inshore
As has become standard operation each year during August the City and its partners issues a media release reminding Capetonians of the expected seasonal increase in Great White Sharks closer to shore as they start to spend less time at the seal colony and more time inshore. The City and NSRI released the information on 29 August 2011. Following the release numerous radio, TV and print interviews were conducted to create awareness around the issue to better prepare sea water users.
History of shark attacks in Fish Hoek within last six years
Tyna Webb, fatal, November 2006
Lyle Maasdorp, no injury, surf-ski bitten, September 2008
Lloyd Skinner, fatal, January 2010
In the interest of public safety, it should be noted that in the case of Tyna Webb, Lloyd Skinner and Michael Cohen, shark warnings were in place prior to all of these events. Public adherence to shark warnings remains a constant challenge in preventing shark attacks.
Additional relevant information
Reports from staff indicate that members of the public continue to ignore shark warnings. Shark Spotters reported that on the morning of 28 September people in Fish Hoek were verbally abusive when asked to leave the water due to the shark sightings before the incident. The shark spotters report that there were members of the public who refused to leave the water at adjacent beaches after the incident when the beaches were officially closed. Adherence by the public to shark warnings remains a constant concern.
Shark sightings at Fish Hoek of the week leading up to 28 September 2011
24 September (Saturday): 3 shark sightings (10h26, 12h26, 14h47)
25 September (Sunday): 2 shark sightings (11h21, 12h18)
26 September (Monday): 1 shark sighting (09h29)
27 September (Tuesday): 1 shark sighting (15h36)
Shark behaviour before incident
Two sharks had been observed patrolling the inshore areas of Fish hoek since 09h15 on the morning of the incident. The water was clear and the sharks and their behaviour seen clearly. The shark spotter noted that the sharks were spending a lot of time in Clovelly corner near the river mouth and were swimming in “very shallow” water. The behaviour of the sharks was described as being relaxed. At some times they were close together and at other times far apart, but both spent a lot of time in the corner at Clovelly.
On previous days (Saturday, 24 September 2011 in particular) it was noted by the spotters and lifeguards that the sharks looked like they were feeding on something in the Clovelly area. Behaviour such as “thrashing” in shallow water were noted. Furthermore, on Saturday in particular, black-backed kelp gulls (> 30) were observed hovering over the sharks indicative of scavenging of prey remains. On both Saturday and Sunday the sharks also showed a lot of interest in floating pieces of kelp, often swam with their dorsal fins out of the water, and one shark was even described as spy-hopping. Their behaviour was generally described as slow patrolling.
1. Could the attack have been avoided within reasonable means?
It is the position of this review that all shark safety protocols had been followed:
shark spotters were on duty,
the beach had been closed and cleared at 10h50
the Great White Shark flag was flying, and
the Shark Spotters did everything possible to get to the man once they realised he had entered the water.
Mr. Douglas Drysdale and Mr. Hugh Till, the two rescuers who pulled Mr. Cohen from the water helped save his life and should be commended for their bravery. Further the actions and response by Monwabisi Sikweyiya following the attack which included:
Applying his belt as a tourniquet
Elevating the injured leg
Stemming the blood flow with his shirt
Contacting the NSRI for emergency medical response
should also be commended. Without this immediate, rational and professional response by Monwabisi Sikweyiya the victim more than likely would have bled to death on the beach.
2. Overall Findings
All shark warning protocols were followed by the shark spotters as required and stipulated throughout 28 September
The immediate, rational and professional response by Monwabisi Sikweyiya to the attack directly resulted in the victim surviving the attack
The brave actions of the two beach goers Mr Drysdale and Mf Till who pulled the victim from the water must be noted and commended
All emergency response and notification procedures worked. Officials were notified within minutes of the attack, officials were on site within 20 minutes and victim was stabilised and medi-vacted by helicopter to hospital within 40 minutes of the attack.
The only gap in the shark safety programme that could be noted was the general Eskom related electricity failure which meant the alarm could not be sounded again when the victim entered the water.
The Shark Spotting Programme should be commended for its compliance to all standard shark safety protocols during the day of 28 September. Lessons learnt from previous incidents have been applied and training has been effective in improving responses to these incidents. Follow-up first-aid and emergency training that staff have received since the previous incident in January 2010 was well applied, particularly in the speedy response of Monwabisi Sikweyiya.
The success, speed and effectiveness of the emergency response and notification system should be noted
The actions of Monwabisi Sikweyiya be noted and commended
The actions of Mr Drysdale and Mr Till be noted and commended
Back-up battery systems be provided to all shark alarms in the event of electricity outages
A designated swimming area at Fish Hoek beach be demarcated on a daily basis by the Lifesaving Club in consultation with the Shark Spotters. Lifesaving club and City Law Enforcement members to actively ensure that all bathers utilise this area. This information about a defined bathing area at Fish Hoek to be communicated via the media.
24 August 2011 Fatal Attack on the Garden Route
photo: jared aufrichtig
48-year-old Plett surfer, Tim van Heerden, has died after an unknown shark bit him at Keurbooms River Mouth at Lookout Beach, yesterday morning.
Van Heerden, a 48 yr old local from the area known for his craft in making Ugg boots, had lost lots of blood by the time he was pulled out of the water by fellow surfer Charles Reitz. According to reports, his leg was badly mauled and doctors desperately tried to save him on the way to ICU.
It is believed he was bitten in the groin area, and that his femoral artery was servered. Eye witness reports says that the shark looked like a two metre great white shark.
In an interview with Zigzag surfing magazine, Reitz said he had been watching the waves when he saw the shark take Van Heerden on the inside in small surf.
"He had lost all of his blood and his heart stopped twice on the rocks. The shark severed his femoral artery. Sea Rescue from Plett were on the scene quickly," he told the Zag.
Our hearts go out to the van Heerden family and friends of Tim, to Charles, Lloyd and Daryn who helped pull him from the water, and to all the folks on the beach who went through this tragic experience. Know that Tim died doing what he loved.
Isn't it time the Plett community considered a Shark Spotter program like in Cape Town?
The sightings are very regular, and the lookout position is perfect for keeping an eye on things. Creating jobs and safer surfing, and preventing tragedies like this in areas with high surfer/shark density..
16 August 2011 Wavescape gets on-board!
Finally, we have one of SA's major surf organisations, and SA's top surf website, getting on-board and getting involved in the debate. A big shout out to Spike and Pierre Marqua at Wavescapes for taking the plunge. They are helping spread the message of needing to sort out the 'cowboys' in the industry, find sustainable alternatives and helping spread our research survey.
2 August 2011 SASCD receives support from Anti-Chum operator Down Under
Surfers For Responsible Shark Cage Diving – we’re on the same wave!
August 2nd, 2011 by Captain Adventure Bay Charters
“The only way for the local Shark Cage Dive operators to get a shark close enough to see underwater is with chum.No chum, no shark?But wait a minute!Chum- free Eco friendly Great White Shark Cage Diving is happening in Australia,using audio sound vibrationsto attract the world’s largest predatory fish, with ACDC being the Great Whites favourite music!! The benefits of using the sound vibration is that it is omnidirectional and instantaneous and completely eco friendly.”
Adventure Bay Charters (ABC) recently came across Anti Shark Cage Diving Website, Surfers For Responsible Shark Cage Diving (SASCD), a “wavelength of concerned oceanic awareness in response to the impact of the feeding/ baiting of Great White Sharks (carcharodon carcharias)… and the correlating drastic increase in shark attacks on humans that is taking place”.
You probably think this is a pretty strange group for us to want to become mates with since after all, shark cage diving is what we do!
SASCD was founded in order to a) protect the surfers and b) protect the Great White Sharks. SASCD’s aim is to represent the surfer / spearfishermen’s perspective of the possible impact of ‘chumming’ the water daily to attract Great White Sharks, to encourage people to have another look at how the Shark Cage Dive industry operates, and to put forward a sustainable solution to the issue. This is where we come in. Unlike other companies that are berlying/ baiting the sharks to the boat we are taking a more eco friendly approach. The fact that more than a dozen boats – worldwide are daily doing shark cage dives, throwing chum and other goodies into the water to attract the big Great White sharks. ABC has created the only berley free and advanced eco certified shark cage diving experience in Australia, attracting sharks with the use of sounds vibrations. Both ABC and SASCSD are passionate about educating people about the Great White Sharks and marine environment. SASCD believe (like most) that the Great White Sharks are attracted to people because they have been trained to come to boats by cage diving companies “feeding” the sharks… “It is really a common-sense issue, as it is quite obvious that repeated feeding of any animal by humans will reduce the animal’s fear of humans, whereby increasing the chance of attack.” what animal isn’t attracted to food?! What we believe is irrelevant in the scheme of things except to say that when we think there is no better way, progress stops. ABC is working on creating a more sustainable environment for the Great White Sharks by attracting the sharks with sound vibrations, rather that blood, berley and chum. In this process we are encouraging the Great Whites to behave in a way that they normally would in their natural environment. The sharks approach our cage out of curiosity after they sense the vibrations. Not one shark that has visited our boat has left in any way hurt, agitated and most importantly, aggressive. There are some other spin offs to this research, we may identify the best music not to play or even identify the best music to repel sharks, who knows, Justin Bieber may yet have a purpose!
In a town that has been labelled “the seafood capital of the world” and the primary fisheries support most working families and the community, work with us to support SASCSD to have our industry regulated and just enjoy the privilege of viewing them naturally as we would with any other great creature.
UPDATE: Denver Struwig is in hospital and doing fine according to the night sister of his ward. Leave a get well comment for him at the end of article!
The attack occurred at Cinsta Beach with the victim, a 27 year old surfer called Denver Struwig, that was out surfing with his mates. He was bumped from his board, and sustained several lacerations to his right lower leg and left upper arm during the attack.
According to Craig Lambinon from NSRI, the surfer´s friends used his surfboard as floatation device and stretcher in the rescue effort and it was no doubt that their fast reaction and organization made a big difference in the situation. A private ambulance service responded to the call, and he is believed to be in a stable condition and was reported to be fully conscious and that the lacerations was not life threatening at the time.
It was also stated by Lambinon that the species of shark has not been identified.
The emergency was handled by Life St. Dominique's hospital, and the victim has been referred to Life Beacon Bay for plastic surgery. He requested not to interface with media at the time, which is fully understandable. Heal well and see you in the water soon Denver.
Marine researchers in Mossel Bay had a narrow escape after a three-metre-long great white shark breached the surface of the sea and leapt into their boat, becoming trapped on deck for more than an hour.
21 July 2011 Great white shark jumps from sea into research boat Scientists off South Africa's Cape use crane and ropes to get disoriented half-ton shark back into sea
Marine researchers in Mossel Bay had a narrow escape after a three-metre-long great white shark breached the surface of the sea and leapt into their boat, becoming trapped on deck for more than an hour.
The incident occurred while the research team was conducting a shark population study off Seal Island, near Mossel Bay, on South Africa's Cape coast.
Using sardines as bait to attract the predators, the seven-strong crew was able to observe four great whites. The animals are renowned locally for bursting through the surface as they prey on seals.
Dorien Schröder, team leader at Oceans Research, based at Mossel Bay, said that last Monday morning, after more than an hour of shark activity around the vessel, the Cheetah, the waters at the stern had been quiet for five minutes. "Next thing I know I hear a splash, and see a white shark breach out of the water from [the] side of the boat hovering, literally, over the crew member who was chumming [throwing food bait] on the port side," she said.
Schröder recounted how she pulled her colleague to safety before the shark, weighing about 500kg (half a ton) landed on top of the bait and fuel containers. At first half of its body was outside the boat but in a panic the shark thrashed its way further on to the vessel, cutting the fuel lines and damaging equipment before becoming trapped between the containers and the stern. The crew found safety at the bow of the boat.
As Schröder poured water over the shark's gills to keep it alive, another boat was sent out to the Cheetah. A rope from the second vessel was secured around the shark's tail, but repeated efforts to tow the fish into the water failed.
The rescue ship then towed Cheetah to the port with the shark still on deck. A hosepipe was placed in the fish's mouth to ventilate its gills, before it was lifted off the boat with a crane, then lowered back into the water.
Though the shark swam away it was unable to navigate its way out of the harbour and soon beached. With Oceans Research's co-director, Enrico Gennari, an expert on great white sharks, the team tried unsuccessfully to "walk" the shark back to sea. Finally they tied ropes to the shark's tail fin and behind its pectoral fin, and attached these ties to the rescue vessel, which towed the shark out through the harbour estuary. The ropes were then removed and the animal swam away.
Gennari said it was the first time he had heard of a great white shark jumping onto a research vessel. He estimated the predator would have had to have leapt about three metres out of the water to be able to land on the boat. A smaller vessel would have capsized, he said.
As for the cause of the shark's behaviour, Gennari said it was almost certainly an accident rather than an attack on the boat. In the low-visibility water the fish could have mistaken the vessel's shadow for prey, or been disturbed by another shark close by, he said.
"It's all speculation," he said. "But sometimes a shark breaches the surface when it feels another shark underneath it. They [move] like a flying fish and end up several metres away."
Well-written article in ZigZag surf magazine.
Kudos to Zigzag surf mag for (finally) getting involved in the chummy debate. We'd like to congratulate editor Will Bendix for brainchilding the article, and to Anton Louw and Clayton Truscott for their well-written editorial pieces. Although the overall feel of the article still comes across a little one-sided (the Pro-Cage dive article being three times the length of the Against) it is great to see the debate being looked at from BOTH sides, and being brought to the fore in SA's most-read surfing publication. Having been interviewed by both writers for the piece, Justin Othersurfa is glad to have the collective voice heard, and is looking forward to seeing how the broader SA surf population responds to the issue.
There are a few issues in Anton's article that need clarification;
The interpretation of the Shark Attack record is pretty off, and I feel misleading to the reader. Shark attacks in the last 20 years have increased drastically, up to five times the annual average for preceding decades. Review the South African Shark Attack File on this website to add up the numbers yourself. All info derived from the International Shark Attack File and Shark Attack File websites.
Highly respected Alison Kock's comments that the chum from Cage Dive boats is essentially the same as the slick trailing behind fishing boats is odd, there are no humans dangling themselves in cages off the side of the fishing boat amidst the chum, creating an association in a very different way to the fishermen high and dry onboard.
The fact that the author went on a shark cage dive himself, and thus changed his opinion, is also misleading. There are good operators, and bad. That Anton chose to go with a highly reputable company is great, but that doesnt mean they are all operating in the same manner.
The very point near the end of Anton's article, where he concedes that the learned marine biologist interviewed all admit there is no concrete evidence that proves there ISNT a link, is enough for us to keep pushing on. They do not have to use chum to do what they do, and its time surfers stood together and made a noise. Surfers For Responsible Shark Cage Diving is busy putting together an Environmental Action Plan to propose an excellent solution for all involved, but whilst we get the wording excactly right, watch this space...
As for Clayton's article... thanks bru, spot on!
Overall & minor gripes aside I think Anton, Clayton and Will put together a well thought-out piece on the issue.
28 June 2011
Australian Shark Cage dive operator proves that chum is NOT the only way to attract the Great Whites.
Chum- free Eco friendly Great White Shark Cage Diving is being done in Australia by a company called Adventure Bay Charters,, using audio sound vibrations to attract the world’s largest predatory fish, with ACDC being the Great Whites favourite music!! The benefits of using the sound vibration is that it is omnidirectional and instantaneous and completely eco friendly.
SHARKS ENTHUSIASTS HAVE USED fish guts to attract great white sharks for years, but it seems the fearsome creatures may be attracted to something more pleasing to their ears: music from Australian rock band AC/DC.
Matt Waller, a tour operator in South Australia's Neptune Bay, has observed that when sharks hear the band's hits, especially Shook Me All Night Long and Back in Black, they are drawn to the source of the music.
Matt's research was inspired by dive operators on Guadalupe Island, who discovered playing music underwater for clients also caused changes in shark behaviour. He and his company, Adventure Bay Charters, decided to do some experimenting of their own.
Using underwater speakers attached to diving cages, they pumped Australian rock hits through the water. Most of Matt's tunes had no effect, but when the great whites heard the AC/DC songs, they swam up and rubbed their faces against the source of the music.
Matt acknowledges he is no expert on the minds of sharks and doesn't know exactly why they find the '80s rock band's music so appealing.
"Sharks don't have ears, they don't have long hair, and they don't head bang past the cage doing the air guitar," he told Australian Geographic.
The sharks are probably drawn to the low frequencies found in AC/DC's music, and Matt wants to test out this theory. "Once we've got a range of songs, we can electronically identify a common characteristic between those songs," he says.
Led Zeppelin is next on Matt's playlist, but his children are convinced that the sharks will be fans of the White Stripes and Wolfmother.
Matt's findings could help cage-diving operations become more environmentally sustainable by reducing the amount of berley used on tours. He says Adventure Bay Charters is currently the only company in the world that uses music, not bait, to attract sharks, but predicts other operators will soon follow his lead. courtesy: http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/great-white-sharks-attracted-to-acdc.htm
4 March 2011
Yellow Fin warning to bodyboarders
Bodyboarders wearing yellow fins may attrack sharks,
warns veteran spearo Pierre de Villiers. His anecdote
that bright colours, particularly yellow, flashing
in the water, attract sharks is corroborated by
shark scientist Alison Kock.
Pierre de Villiers,
Cape Town surfing pioneer, shaper and veteran spearo...
Once when spear fishing at southwestern
reefs (off Cape Point) with my mate Duncan, he had
a very heavy experience. The water was full of pelagic
fish and sharks, and while I was able to spear fish
and get away with it, he was getting seriously harassed
by sharks. Eventually, while fighting a big yellowtail,
he got rushed by a great white intent on a bite.
It totally ignored his struggling
yellowtail. This is very unusual. Nothing gets a
shark more excited than a fish on a spear. By luck
and instinct, he escaped serious injury. Now all
this time I was 30 metres or so from him and I had
seen sharks only on the edge of my viz. Duncan was
rattled and shouting for backup and I noticed as
I was swimming towards him that from a distance
(before I began to make out his shape) I could saw
the yellow flick of his fins winking at me - flash
- flash - flash. Every time he kicked, the blade
bent and flicked back, and the yellow tip flashed.
There was no other word to describe it. The sharks
could not leave them alone.
We are both convinced that the
yellow blades were the problem. I notice the majority
of boogers use two-tone fins. Most are seriously
bright and many are yellow. I try to tell them but
I mostly only connect in the water so I’m
keen for you to pass it on. Anyway, I’ve had
it on my mind for a while now please let me know
how this info can help.
Alison Kock, shark
scientist and world authority on the white shark...
We know that sharks see contrasting
colours very well. I've seen the same thing happen
myself a few times with both black and brightly
coloured fins, one incident involving a white shark,
the other with makos, blues, and tiger sharks, the
blues in particular like nipping at a person's fins,
and I've also observed them show what seems to be
increased interest to brightly coloured fins. My
own anecdotes come from myself and my husband's
shark diving experiences (he is a spearfisherman
turned underwater cameraman), and our own rules
are to wear all dark colours while diving with sharks
of any species, making sure neck, wrists and ankles
are covered and there are no contrasting colours
on our wetsuits or any other gear e.g. silver, white
or yellow on a dark colour that can be mistaken
for fish or simply just be of interest to a shark.
One of the questions in the South African Shark
Attack Incident Report asks about any jewellery
worn by the victim for this very reason too, namely
shiny objects worn which a shark may mistake for
However, I think a lot also has
to do with the action the fins are making. I have
seen sharks show particular interest in people who
dive or swim erratically in the water (e.g. fast
and frequent finning), versus others who are calmer,
fin slower and are more relaxed in the water regardless
of what colour their fins are. But, having said
that based on my own experiences (not scientific
evidence) I don't wear brightly coloured fins or
strong contrasting colours when diving with sharks.
Another anecdote is that underwater cameramen like
using brightly coloured underwater housings, like
yellow and silver because they get a lot of interest
from the sharks and thus some great footage, and
yet another interesting observation is how attracted
some species of shark are to the flashing strobes
of underwater cameras.
How applicable these observations
are to surfers or boogie boarders who are right
at the surface and thus silhouetted against the
light background I'm not sure. I think the actual
finning action as seen by a shark from below would
be worthy of investigation regardless of colour.
From our observations at Seal Island with white
sharks and seal decoys we know that sharks treat
stationary decoys very differently to ones that
are moving. Relatively speaking most sharks approach
the stationary decoy slowly from below versus the
full out breaching behaviour that is seen when the
same decoy is moving while towed behind a boat.
Similar behaviour is seen with seal prey. A dead
seal lying at the surface is usually approached
slowly from below, while healthy seals swimming
fast trying to avoid being predated upon are attacked
using the ambush strategy, fast and explosive. Thus,
the main difference being again the movement involved.
Some people have likened it to dogs chasing cars,
a stationary car not so interesting...a moving car
much more so. source: http://www.wavescape.co.za/blog/shark-monitor/yellow-fin-warning.html
are happening - new initiative in the Deep South
15 January 2011
Another Fatal shark attack in the
Junior Border surfer dies
in horrific shark attack at Port St Johns
Zama Ndamase (16), a provincial surfer for Border
and a 2009 SSA Lotto Scholarship recipient, died
this morning (January 15) in a horrific shark attack.
He was surfing with his brother, Avuyile, and other
members of the local surf club at Second Beach Port
St Johns when the attack occurred.
The talented surfer, who has represented Border
a number of times, is the fifth shark victim at
this notorious beach in the last three years. Four
of the attacks have been fatal.
According to reports Zama managed to catch a wave
after being bitten and attempted to reach the shore.
Tragically he bled to death in the water before
he could be reached by the lifeguards and rescue
Zama was one of the most talented surfers to emerge
from this remote region and was a leader among the
up and coming wave riders in the area. He represented
Border at the SA Grommet Games and at the SA Junior
Championships in Cape Town last October. He was
awarded an SSA Surfing Scholarship in 2009 along
with fellow Port St Johns surfer Zitobile Msesiwe.
Representatives and members of Border Surfriders
Association (BSA), Surfing South Africa, Zama’s
long time coach and mentor Mike Gatke, his East
London based teammates and the local surfers are
devastated by the tragedy.
Malcome Logie of the BSA said of Zama “he
was a young guy, full of spirit and always ready
for a laugh. He was always willing to help his teammates
and enjoyed giving the younger surfers encouragement
and advice. Border was looking to him to play a
leading role in our team this year. His passing
leaves us numb and with a huge sense of loss.”
There is real concern that the surfers who were
in the water during the attack will not be able
to cope and plans are being made to send a counselor
to the area to help the locals handle the tragedy.
The Port St Johns community is poor and there is
precious little money to assist the Ndamase family
deal with their grief. Nor are there funds available
to pay for the costs of sending a counselor to help
the community. The Border Surfriders Association
and Surfing South Africa are therefore appealing
for support to cover these expenses.
All funds raised will be used to assist the Ndamase
family with expenses and contribute to the costs
of sending a grief counselor to work with the family
and the community.
Any donations can
be made to the following account:
Surfing South Africa
FNB Rondebosch 201509
50170019142 (current account)
Please include your name, contact number or email
and ZAMA as the reference.
4 Dec 2010 Increased activity - in
the water and on the
Othersurfa carving up the face(book) "I am just a figment of
your imagination. My soul concern in life is to
have friends join my FB group - Surfers Against
Shark Cage Diving..."
This simple status update has been receiving great
attention online this week, with many noted SA and
international surfers joining the call. A big-up
to everybody raising their hand, from Joe Surfer
to Pro Surfer, shapers to surf clubs, major surf
brands to startup companies, it is great to see
people starting get involved. If you own
a business that's brave enough to raise your concern,
send us your logo and url and we'll add it to the
Supporters section. But don't stop there,
this groundswell is still growing, and needs to
become a tidal wave (of 50,000 sliders) before it
breaks on the reefs of Mossel Bay and Gansbaai!
If you havent already joined the group,
do it here
Tell your friends, suggest the group and/or Justin
Othersurfaand lets get this thought-wave
reverberating around the world!
Surfers Against Shark
'igh grade T-Shirts are available
for COST PRICE thanks to Country
Feeling, and now come with a free sticker
to be stuck appropriately! Send your size and postal
address on Activism
goes down under! A chance meeting over a game of scrabble
with a reknowned Ozzie legend who has a preference
for finless forays of the aquatic kind has pledged
his support to SASCD! We are super stoked to add
his respected fire to our blaze, and hope to start
getting some coverage in Oz and possibly the USA
too. Rightly so, as stated in Cold
Fact 3Great Whites are a migratory
species, often traversing between SA and
West Oz, possibly even on to Nor Cal, so
any change in their behaviour should be of concern
to wave sliders of all three countries (who also
make up the majority of the global wave slider fraternity
on this big blue ball of ocean!)
Shark Activity in False Bay
The City of Cape Town and the Shark
Spotting Programme would like to make water users
aware of the current high white shark activity in
the inshore area of False Bay, particularly in the
Muizenberg, Fish Hoek and Clovelly area. Yesterday,
the 29 November, Shark Spotters recorded 5 sightings
at Fish Hoek and 6 at Muizenberg, and this morning
there has already been 2 sightings at Fish Hoek.
For recent sightings at a Shark Spotter beach please
visit www.sharkspotters.org.za. The spotters are
also recording more than one shark at any given
time at both beaches and the sharks are very active
and seem to be feeding. Yellowtail (Seriola lalandi)
have been seen schooling in the area and it is likely
that the white sharks are following and targeting
the yellowtail, one of their known preferred prey
species. The City and Shark Spotters are appealing
to all water users to be extra vigilant at this
time, to familiarize themselves with the recent
shark activity in the area before entering the water,
obey the shark siren, and to take note of the Shark
Spotters` flags and signage for regular updates
on shark sightings. People are reminded that this
behaviour is normal shark behaviour for the summer
16 Nov 2010 Some interesting reading
from the media of the last few years
Whilst doing a quick search online
Justin Othersurfer came across a few great pieces
on the issue, if you have a moment follow the links
for the full stories;
Chumming' - Carte
Blanche Investigative TV show
In the midst of the great increase in attacks
in the Cape Town area, presenter Derek Watts interviews
a recent attack victim, JP Smith, as well as Rob
Lawrence, a shark cage dive operator.click
here for the full story>>
'Arsonists attack city shark
boat' - Cape Times
'One Hour Swim Around the
Seal Colony Challenge to the Scientists who support
The above is a challenge set out for pro-chum
scientists. A very infomativedebate ensues
between SealAlert SA, and a pompous intellectual
who was part of the team who penned the most recognised
paper about the non-existent effects of chumming
affecting Great White's behaviour. click
here for the full story>>
'Cashing in on sharks, unnaturally'
- Cyber Divers News Network
Very interesting info regarding Shark Chumming
and attacks in the USA. Great quote, "I knew
the late Peter Benchley, author of Jaws. To his
dying day he advocated shark preservation and regretted
the misnomers about sharks created in his book and
the film production that popularized it. "Sharks
have an important role to play in nature,"
Benchley told me. "It is unnatural to feed
them. Worse to kill them because we are afraid of
them and must kill what we fear."click
here for the full story>> and here for
a fascinating resource of articles on the issue
2 Oct 2010 Fascinating findings about
Great White feeding patterns
Monday 27 September 2010 Recycling life:
Dead whale a giant magnet for sharks
On the 9 September 2010 a dead ~ 11 meter Brydes
whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was located by Chris
Fallows of Apex Expeditions drifting towards the
shore at Partridge Point, near Simonstown, where
it would’ve created a ~ 10 ton ‘clean-up’
problem for Cape Town authorities, particularly
in that rocky shore area where access by removal
teams would’ve been limited. Additionally,
from previous records made by Shark Spotters at
Muizenberg where a dead humpback whale calf washed
ashore two years ago, shark sightings increased
significantly in the adjacent area and beaches had
to be closed temporarily. Thus, the South African
Navy towed the dead whale to Seal Island where the
sharks could help solve the problem by simply doing
what comes naturally to them as top predators –
keeping our oceans in balance and healthy.
Brydes whales (pronounced Broo-das whales) are found
all year round in False Bay, Cape Town. In our experience
they are usually very shy and rarely approach boats,
although during the annual sardine run, further
up the South African coast, divers have had very
special close encounters with them while they have
been feeding on the schools of sardine. These whales
reach lengths of over 12 meters and can weigh over
15 tons. It’s suspected that this whale’s
death was not natural due to a large, very regular
mark running alongside its body which may have been
an indication of a boat strike or even perhaps being
caught in a trawl net, a suggestion by Chris Fallows.
While the death of the whale was very unfortunate,
it allowed us to document an extreme example of
the cycle of life. It also provided an unparalleled
opportunity to document white shark behaviour and
record the number of sharks in the area. Morne,
Adrian and myself spent nine days at sea documenting
the spectacle providing fascinating insight into
white shark dining behaviour. read
more on the Shark Spotters Official Blog
Oct 2010 False Bay bodyboarder attacked
by a shark in waist deep water
A young bodyboarder was attacked at Pipe in Strand,
at around 14:50 this afternoon (Friday 1st Oct),
by what was believed to be
a small shark. The attack took place in waist deep
water, as he was exiting the sea.
The youngster sustained bite marks
to the lower part of his leg, which were treated
immediately by lifeguards and other surfers on the
scene. The bleeding was stemmed and the boy was
taken to hospital by ambulance for further treatment.
The waves were 3-4ft and fun,
and the water was warm and murky. Despite the attack,
surfers cautiously entered the sea soon after and
carried on surfing.
False Bay has had two dead whales
wash up on its beaches in the last month, which
may have heightened shark activity in the area.
The National Sea Rescue have also warned of the
migration of sharks towards the shoreline during
this time of year. Beachgoers have been cleared
from the sea by Shark Spotters at Muizenberg and
at Fish Hoek on several occasions after sharks were
spotted close to the shore. Strand and Kogel Bay
fall under the City of Cape Town municipality but
remain outside of the Shark Spotter program.
30 Sept 2010 Update & peaceful Great
Well the shit-storm we are trying
to create is taking shape :) The site is averaging
40 visitors a day, and several of them are coming
via shark divers blog, either out of hate or enlightenment
who knows, but cool to see. There have been some
interesting interactions coming into the postbox,
an interesting one from a tour operator citing a
'marine biologist''s stance that SCD has no impact
whatsoever, but the argument was riddled with holes...comments
inside brackets in white were added to reply by
"There in no direct
evidence (just cause its not
scientifically provable doesnt mean it's not real...
do you belive in Love? very hard to scientifically
prove;) that the South African white shark
population is increasing. Certainly not at its intrinsic
rate (the rate it should be). We know this from
on going population dynamics studies carried out
via dorsal fin identification and acoustic tagging
in the Western Cape. Prior to their full protection
in 1991 Great white sharks were a fisherman’s
target species for their jaws.
However, what is increasing
today, is the amount of people utilising the water
by learning to swim, dive, spearfish and surf. This
means more and more people in the water are increasing
the chance of a shark encounter.
Great white sharks are notoriously
nomadic and very rarely reside in an area for long
enough to be ‘conditioned’. (exactly
why altering sharks behaviour s not going to directly
increase attacks in the cage diving areas, but anywhere
along their travels) Often they will move
to an area for a particular food resource, whether
it be fish or pinnipeds, and then move on with their
journey. This combined with the fact that cage diving
boats are prohibited in feeding the sharks
(then what are those buckets
of sardine chum they use to attract sharks to the
boats EVERY SINGLE DAY, and what are those tuna
heads tied to ropes that they taunt the sharks with?)
actually suggests that the sharks will rather be
negatively conditioned than accustomed to the boats.
Also the shark more often than not views the cage
as one entity/object (an apex
predator is not stupid) and is much more
interested in the bait (bait?
WTF i thought its illegal to feed them?).
They certainly do not think of humans as food because
of these operations. Furthermore, the cage diving
industry is becoming more and more regulated and
some operations are putting in a phenomenal amount
of effort to shark awareness and conservation."
While website hits are pretty
high Facebook fans are abit slow in rising, it would
be great if supporters could post something about
the site to their profiles to expand exposure.
Kudos to the guy who wrote into
ZigZag this week, the collective consciousness is
On a side note, JustAnotherSurfer
was out surfing today, very nice overhead clean
lines coming down the point :) when a large johnny
decided to cruise through the lineup. I'd guesstimate
he/she was 3.5-4m, but the amazing thing was that
it was completely unthreatening, just cruising.
It frolicked around for about 5 mins then swam off
into the deep. Some guys in the water panicked (bad
move) and scurried over the rocks quicker than a
Zimbabwean crossing the border, but most of the
crew just kept a beady eye on the peaceful visitor,
kept calm, and no dramas. Just kept reminding myself
that 'sharks dont eat people' and carried on getting
F.E.A.R - False
Keep surfing and keeping the karmic
balance in your favour!
25 Sept 2010 A letter to Save Our Seas
Really enjoyed reading your website,
great work! In particular was drawn to the article
on 'Why sharks bite people'. Great White attacks
on humans in the Cape waters of South Africa has
increased by over a 1000% in the last 15 years,
a fact fairly looked over in the media. We, as Cape
surfers, are deeply concerned with this increase
and have been doing a bunch of research on our own,
reading reports and interviewing local scientists,
and we're finding out some crazy facts. We now know
without a shadow of a doubt that GWS are not out
to get us, but the environmentally-unsound practice
of shark-cage diving that is prolific in the Cape
more so than anywhere in the world, and in particular
the chumming and taunting with fish heads of these
great creatures, we believe, is resulting in a small
number of the GWS getting 'angry' with the humans
disrespecting them daily, and possibly exacting
'revenge' on humans not in cages, ie surfers &
spearfishermen. Its probably not a provable theory,
as there are too many variables for any conclusive
scientific hypotheses to be proven, but its a theory
that has not been discussed and we are going to
make it heard, before more people unnecessarily
die whilst others make huge profits exploiting the
Great White. Check out www.stopsharkcagediving.com
if you're interested.
Thanks again for defending our oceans,
A bunch of surfers from South
Africa have had enough! Shark attacks on Humans
in the Cape waters have increased more than a 1000%
since 1991, when the Shark Cage Dive industry began
in SA. The operators say there is no connection,
but have no reasons as to why the increase. We promote
research, awareness and respect of these great creatures,
and are opposed to the profit-driven exploitation
that only increases the fear. Have a look at our
(very low budget and un-scientific) website, www.stopsharkcagediving.com
Thanks for fighting for our oceans :)