All for a swim in the ocean

On 18th April 2012 , people were banned from swimming in Scottburgh , after 14 tiger sharks were caught in the shark nets. Five of the sharks died.

Media release from the Sharks Board.
MEDIA RELEASE – 18 April 2012

Upon commencing the daily servicing of the Scottburgh shark safety gear this morning, 18th April 2012, the KZNSB crew came across a number of tiger (Galeocerdo Cuvier) sharks that were caught in the nets.

A total of 14 sharks ranging in size from 1.7m to 2.3m pre-caudal length, were captured. 9 of these were tagged and released alive. An additional boat unit was dispatched from Kingsburgh to assist in the removal of all the shark safety gear at the beach and bathing has been banned. The removal of gear in this type of unusual situation is standard practice to prevent the unnecessary capture of any sharks.

Tiger sharks are notorious scavengers however no captures have occurred at this installation since 03 April 2012, when 2 spinner sharks were caught. There appears to be some form of slick on the water surface in the inshore area of the bay, the source of which is unknown. This however may be acting as an attractant to these sharks.

The bathing ban advisory will remain in force as a precautionary measure until such time as evidence of this slick disappears and the shark safety gear is reinstated and has been serviced.

Mike Anderson-Reade

Head of Operations

KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board

In my opinion 5 dead tiger sharks is a tragedy of massive proportions. Since this release the board have found whale meat in the stomachs of the sharks and there is speculation that there was a humpback whale caught in the nets. The board has not confirmed this as of 26 April 2102.
In any event, what many people do not realise is that these sharks ( and possibly a whale too ) were caught in a Marine Protected Area. A MPA is a specially demarcated area where nothing can be caught or taken from the sea and it is proclaimed in order to protect and preserve an area which is under threat and pressure. The sharks board have a permit to kill in this area and the nets are well known to be a harbinger of death for many marine species , all of them innocent of doing any harm to humans. None of them willfully want to hurt us.Why are we killing them? Well, for a swim in the ocean of course.
images courtesy of Gail Addison

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