18 May 2005

Concerned diver disregarded by leading SA fishing magazine

Ski Boat Magazine is one of the largest fishing magazine publications in South Africa and in the Postbox section of the May/June issue there is a letter to the editor from a concerned diver who witnessed the slaughter of a Zambezi shark on the 19 of February 2005. The editors comments are of great concern. See below...

I would like to stress my total disgust in one of the local fishing charters at Shelly Beach. Being a keen fisher man, as well as fanatic scuba diver, I recently on a business trip to Shelly, encountered the most horrified experience of a Zambezi shark being caught by one of the local fishing charters namely Sensational Fishing charters.

While watching the arrival of several boats at Shelly, on Saturday the 19th of February 2005, I noticed the arrival of Sensational Fishing Charter being skipped by Denise Milton. It was clear on arrival that there were no clients on the boat. Soon after the boat was hauled onto the trailer to be washed, a crowd gathered around it.

On closer inspection I was disgusted, overwhelmed, and at the same time amazed to see a large gutted Zambezi shark. A clear display of the jaw bone on the side of the pavement left a bitter taste in my mouth to say the least. The only peace of mind was that several of the bystanders shared in my mixed emotions of this horrified and brutal act! There was an outrage of emotions being shared from "what a waste" to "ridiculous".

This whole experience made me wonder how arrogant people like Denise Milton, senselessly killing sharks just for the purpose of a wall mounted trophy, can be allowed to still operate. It is sad that in the day and age, were we as humans are promoting conservation of wild and marine life for the future, people like myself still feels helpless and frustrated and there is still no answer to our pleads to stop this kind of brutal killing.

The fishing fraternity has a national slogan: "save our oceans; tag and release" and I can only wonder how Denise Milton still operates and have the confidence to arrive with such a catch without any fear or emotion.

My question: "Can local Government not stop this senseless killing of sharks?"

I will most definitely after this shocking experience advice all my fishing buddies not to make use of Sensational Fishing Charter and or Denise Milton.

Editors comments:
A bit of perspective is required. On the day in question, Denise Milton was trolling a double-hook rig which was swallowed by the Zambezi shark. There was no chance of survival. For the record it weighed 200kg.

At present there is a plague of sharks on the lower south coast, and just as an example, it was reported that in one day in early march, no less than 62 sharks were removed dead from the shark nets.

For the record, in the last 18 years Sensational Charters have killed 14 sharks, four of which were Zambezi. The shark was filleted and donated to charity.

Editor Ski Boat Magazine
Dave Rorke

Sharklife's Comments:
Dear Dave Rorke

I write to you with reference to the Save a Shark letter printed in the postbox section of the May/June 05 issue of Ski Boat magazine.

Being the editor of a very successful fishing magazine one would expect the facts be examined a little more closely before making statments on the record.

Firstly for the record, there is photographic evidence freely available that shows Sensational have killed approximately 30 sharks, 20 of which where Zambezi's. Not to mention the Zambezi shark mutilated in front of divers on the 19th of February at Shelly Beach. That's a documented 21 Zambezi sharks.

Secondly it is the responsibility of your publication to strongly encourage marine conservation. As I'm sure you are aware, the world wide depletion of sharks is reaching a critical stage and to make subjective statements such as "At present there is a plague of sharks on the lower south coast" is extremely irresponsible and counter productive.

Your publication should be at the forefront of marine conservation issues rather than justifying and condoning the unsustainable actions of the Sensational Charters shark fishing campaign.


Grant Smith

Source: www.sharklife.co.za


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