08 June 2005

No Great White Sharks will be killed says green groups

"There will be no attempt to hunt, remove, or kill that shark or any other shark."

That was the word on Tuesday from Cape Town environmental and policy research co-ordinator Gregg Murray, after a meeting of top city officials and scientists of the Shark Working Group in response to Saturday's fatal attack on 22-year-old medical student Henri Murray at Miller's Point.

The group consists of 12 representatives from the City of Cape Town, Marine Coastal Management (MCM), the White Shark Research Institute of the South African Museum, and AfriOceans Conservation Alliance, among others.

The group emphasised that it did not support any call for revenge against the sharks.

Gregg Oelofse, environmental policy and research co-ordinator for the City of Cape Town, said after the meeting that the group's position at the moment was not to go after any sharks.

George Murray, father of the latest victim, has said he is opposed to the call for the elimination of sharks in Cape Town waters, but would not mind if the animal that attacked his son was killed as it is dangerous.

The group made three main resolutions at the meeting.

First, that they would continue to pursue a shark monitoring research initiative between the University of Cape Town, MCM, and the South Africam Museum. This research involves the tracking of sharks using tags and monitors that have been placed around the shorelines of Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Macassar, Kogel Bay, Kalk Bay harbour and other locations.

Said Oelofse: "Information from this research will allow scientists to assess whether certain activities such as trek net fishing and the opening of the Zandvlei mouth are likely to draw sharks towards the shore.

"Also, scientists can examine the different conditions in which sharks swim close to shore, looking at the weather, the tide, and the time of year."

This research would continue for a number of years, but the group would report back regularly, according to Oelofse.

The second resolution was that the group would invite specialists to review the shark safety measures used worldwide and assess their applicability to Cape Town waters.

"We don't necessarily see most of these measures - for example, shark nets and electronic repellents - as being appropriate for Cape Town because of their environmental cost. But in the public interest it is appropriate that they are given due consideration as options," said Oelofse.

Last, the group responded to suggestions that a single shark had been responsible for the attacks over the previous few years.

"This 'one-shark theory' has been bandied about in the media and none of us at the meeting believed that this was the case," said Oelofse.

"No evidence has shown that sharks become so-called 'rogue sharks', 'man-eaters' or 'problem animals'."

The Shark Working Group was formed after the 2003 attack on teenage surfer JP Andrews in Muizenberg. Its mission is to create awareness about shark attacks and guide scientific research.

Source: www.iol.co.za


Post a Comment

<< Home