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.