Don't blame us, says under-fire shark filmmaker

2012-04-19 20:55
Johannesburg - Shark documentary maker Chris Fischer on Thursday defended the actions of his team, the target of stinging criticism on Facebook after a man was killed by a shark in the vicinity of where they had released chum (shark bait) a few days before, to draw the elusive creatures nearer for filming purposes.

A 20-year-old bodyboarder, David Lilienfeld, died after a shark, presumed to be a Great White as big as 5m, bit off his right leg near Kogel Bay near CapeTown.

Fischer, who was busy with a production for National Geographic, posted a message on the television show Shark Men's Facebook page denying that his team was responsible for the man's death.

"There has been tragic news in False Bay today. A body-boarder has been taken by a white shark. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family that has been affected," he said.

"We departed False Bay over three days ago after working there from Sunday afternoon... to Monday afternoon... During our 24 hrs of work... there we chummed 24kg of pilchards [sardines]."

This was less than the amount released by each of three cage diving boats per day, Fischer said.

"We are terribly sorry again for the loss of this family and at this time our thoughts and prayers are with them."

Facebook users attacked Fischer on his Facebook page.

On the Shark Men Facebook page, South Africans blamed the documentary-makers for the man's death.

"Shame on you! Piss off! So angry, that's my home break where this happened. Hope you, your boat and your life sinks to the deepest parts of the ocean...," wrote one person.

Another user posted: "Your chumming has just got a kid killed, you were warned but preferred ratings - condolences to the family, RIP."

The hostility continued with: "This is all your fault - don't mess with these sharks unless you are willing to get into the water! You clowns!! Go back to your land of Greed, Insolence and Disrespect!!!"

Tragedy

Fischer has been in the country for the past month filming sharks in their natural habitat for the documentary Shark Men.

After the attack, Biodiversity and Coastal Research director Alan Boyd cancelled Fischer's research permit.

"This incident is a tremendous tragedy and I'm very shocked. No more field work will be proceeding from here on out," said Boyd.

Initially, when the permit was approved, there were fears that chumming could attract sharks to populated beaches.

At the time, Dirk Schmidt, a wildlife photographer and author of White Sharks, said it was prudent for a high shark alert to be issued.

His concern was that up to five tons of chum (bait) would be used to attract sharks to the boat. He said the chum slick could be blown closer to beaches by on-shore winds.

Despite this, Boyd issued the permit, saying chumming would have little effect close to shore.

Read more on:    cape town  |  shark attacks

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
104 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.