06 June 2005

Shark 'bounty-hunting' mooted

The project manager of Swimsafe says he plans shark "bounty hunts" similar to those in Southern Australia after a Matie student was attacked by one of the predators at Miller's Point.

Henri Murray, 22, a fifth year medical student at Stellenbosch University is missing, presumed dead.

It was the fifth attack in just over a year and Godfrey Mocke says something has to be done.

He says American big-game fishermen have offered $500 000 to catch Great Whites off South Africa's coast.

While making the sea safe for divers, rowers and swimmers, he says, it will also generate revenue.

Mocke says he has been thinking about shark hunting for some time.

He says shark hunting will ensure that a 2km stretch of the coast is safe for people to swim in.

Murray and a friend, Piet van Niekerk, 23, went spearfishing at Miller's Point when he was attacked by a Great White.

The attack took place at about 15:45 on Saturday in 6m-deep water about 200m from the shore.

Henri saw the shark and warned his friend that they should get out of the water, his father George said on Sunday.

Twice, he succeeded in fending off the shark.

"The third time the shark was determined and grabbed him while he was swimming towards the shore."

Van Niekerk succeeded in shooting the shark with his spear gun, but had to watch how his friend was dragged away by the predator.

Craig Bovim of The Shark Concern Group said on Sunday the group had been planning for some time to send an open letter to Marthinus van Schalkwyk, minister of environmental affairs and tourism, to ask for changes to the shark tourism industry.

Bovim, who was attacked by a shark at Scarborough in December 2002, said the industry should put an end to the practice of chumming.

He was of the opinion that it could be more lucrative if the industry was based on sightseeing tours where tourist could watch how sharks hunted seals naturally.

Great Whites are a protected species.

Source: www.news24.com


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