Update – Feb 21: The Cape Times recently reported that the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department has approved the plans for a trial shark net. The net will be deployed in the coming weeks, depending on weather. The trial will run through January 2014.
The net will be set in the southern corner of Fish Hoek bay, one of the most popular swimming beaches. The city has been working on deploying the net since early last summer, but the process has been slow because of ecological concerns. Specifically, many are concerned that the net will affect fishing activities, particularly the yellowtail season which peaks during the late summer.
The net is 285 meters long and will be removed every night and replaced every morning. A marine researcher will monitor and record the impact of the net on marine life and the net will not be set on days when there is an increased presence of marine life in order to make sure that no larger species become entangled.
The net will be a trial process. The moorings are in place and the net is ready to go, but setting in in the water is likely to be challenging.
“We really mean it when we say we will be trialing the net,” said Gregg Oelofse, head of environmental policy and strategy for the city. “It’s likely to be difficult. It’s a process and we’ll be learning through that.”
The net is designed not to hurt the sharks but just to keep them out of the way of beachgoers, even though the risk of someone actually being ‘attacked’ by a shark is minimal. The city notes that statistics don’t often change people’s feelings, so the net is a compromise to make people feel safer.
To learn more:
- Read the most recent article from Independent Online: Cape Town ‘ready to go’ on shark nets
- And find out more about the net from the Scenic South: Trial Shark Exclusion Net Scheduled for Fish Hoek Beach in January 2013
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.