19 November 2004

Sharks still 'haunt' Fish Hoek

"Had it not been for two seals close inshore, a shark would certainly have attacked another swimmer today," said fisherman George Cameron, who saw them being eaten.

Cameron, a seine fisherman, said he saw a shark of about three metres attack and eat two seals near Fish Hoek beach on Thursday afternoon.

The attack was in the same area where Mrs Tyna Webb, 78, was attacked and killed by a 6m shark. Webb's body has vanished and only her bathing cap has been found.

Apart from the shark at Fish Hoek, two others were spotted at Glencairn earlier in the morning.

Martin Williams, chairperson of the Fish Hoek Life-Saving Club, said: "One was a big shark and the other one somewhat smaller.

"There were no lifesavers to warn swimmers and there also are also no shark nets to protect bathers."

Blew whistles to warn swimmers
The shark that attacked the seals was seen about 13:50 at Fish Hoek.

There were about 30 bathers in the sea when it was spotted by the trek-fishermen from their observation post on the mountainside. The warning signal was sounded shortly after the shark had been spotted. Two lifesavers sprinted down the beach and blew on their whistles to warn swimmers to leave the water and the shark warning flag was hoisted.

A second shark was seen near the beach about an hour later. According to the fishermen at the observation post, the shark swam around in circles for about 10 minutes before it left the bathing area. The fishermen said they have seen six sharks close to the Fish Hoek and Glencairn beaches since the attack on Webb.

According to Linda Schmidt of Fish Hoek, the presence of sharks in the water does not deter her.

New buoys are being installed
"I keep on swimming and have confidence in the ability of the trek-fishermen to spot the sharks and sound a warning to protect me."

Apart from the newly established co-operation between the seine fishers, lifesavers and police to prevent shark attacks, new buoys are being installed to demarcate the swimming area, says a Fish Hoek Lifesavers Club statement.

During the festive season a helicopter will fly spotting patrols up and down the surf to warn bathers of shark activity. The lifesavers' rubber dinghy will also be used for regular patrols and be on the lookout for sharks.


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