News24

SA vents over shark attack

2012-04-19 19:08

Johannesburg - South Africans took to social networking site Facebook to vent their anger on Thursday after a man was killed in a shark attack at Kogel Bay, in Cape Town.

US-based documentary maker Chris Fischer, who was in Cape Town filming Shark Men for National Geographic, lured sharks to the area by releasing chum (bait) into the ocean.

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."

Earlier, a witness to the shark attack, surfer Matt Marais, described how a "huge and aggressive" shark seized the body-boarder.

The victim's brother was believed to have been with him in the water when the great white shark, believed to be between 4m and 5m long, killed him.

The man had been lying on his body-board waiting for a wave to surf when a fin appeared, Marais said.

He said the documentary-makers had released shark bait into the water nearby just five days earlier.

Fischer was granted a research permit to film great white sharks in the Cape.

Initially, the Western Cape environmental affairs department, which granted the permit, said the documentary was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gather key research on great white sharks.

However it was cancelled by Biodiversity and Coastal Research director Alan Boyd following news of Thursday's attack.

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

When the permit was approved, there were fears that chumming could attract sharks to popular beaches, but Boyd said it would have little effect close to shore.

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

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

On the Shark Men Facebook page, the attitude towards the show's creators after the attack was one of hostility.

"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!!!"

Comments
  • bluzulu - 2012-04-19 19:14

    Can this really be blamed on these Yanks? Many Shark attacks have taken place when these Naturalist weren't around.

      Jason - 2012-04-19 19:22

      Its not their fault and we should stop being such girls about it.

      Msika - 2012-04-19 19:28

      Agree, churm bait or not, poeple have been attacked by sharks before, some killed, some survived. He was just at the wrong place in the wrong time. May his soul rest in peace, and condolences to the family.

      Etienne - 2012-04-19 20:02

      yes, there have been attackes, but THIS ONE was provoked by them

      Robert - 2012-04-19 22:21

      Leave these guys alone.

      bluzulu - 2012-04-20 06:42

      Blame the ANC for this tragedy, Condolences to the Family.

  • Al - 2012-04-19 19:23

    National Geographic is owned by News International... it seems to they'll do anything to get their story

  • dagilbenator - 2012-04-19 19:35

    Hello!!!!!!! I have never heard of a shark coming into anybody's home and attacking them(like some humans do) so if you want to walk and play in his home you know there could be consequences.

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 19:36

    I watched a previous doccie on Nat Geo of how they catch and tag the sharks. It is disgusting!! The one poor shark was released with a huge hook in its mouth and the authorities decided to cancel their licence due to this event. Californians were also against what they were doing. Shame on you local authorites for granting the licence. You were warned and told. It was a licence to kill and now we have a tragic consequence. I am certain the chumming is to blame. By the way we have had winds gusting up to over 40 km blowing inshore. You dont need to be a rocket scientist to work out what the result of the chumming would be with these winds.

      Mike Purchase - 2012-04-19 19:41

      Sharks dont feel pain and the hook rusts quickly,no harm done eish!!

      laron.wilson - 2012-04-20 06:44

      Amanda, Chris Fischer is an extremely strong shark advocate. The entire program rests on the back of scientific research that will lead to critical knowledge in the preservation of sharks. Many poachers catch sharks just for the fins and then throw the still living shark back into the sea where it will be unable to breath because it can't swim. A very slow and painful death is all there is left. Millions of sharks are poached annually. I don't blame you for being angry, or anyone else. It's a very human reaction to tragedy, but please don't disparage someone you know nothing about. My heart goes out to the family of this lad. It's truly heartbreaking to lose a loved one, especially one so full of life and youth.

  • thombela.isaac - 2012-04-19 19:38

    That is why I prefer SHOWER rather than swiming like the Zulu man...

  • Robin - 2012-04-19 19:39

    There is no eveidence whatsoever of any direct link between chumming and shark attacks. Sharks are top predators, they are not stupid, and do not just attack because the water smelled good 5 days earlier. Many divers freely swim amongst feeding sharks, no problem. Other animals also feed amongst feeding sharks, no problem. A shark, just like a lion or a leopard or a tiger, will prey on humans under exceptional conditions, and not as a result of chumming or baiting. Please people, emotional reactions without emeprical evidence do nothing other than damage otherwise good reputations.

      Tony - 2012-04-19 21:04

      Why do they chum? To attract the sharks. Therefore it will be more likely that shark attacks will occur where they chummed. As simple as that.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-04-19 19:39

    Im sorry to his family and friends but i am in Pietermaritzburg and knew about the shark nets.

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 19:58

    @Mike If Alan Boyed was not so concerned then why then did he cancel the licence within ten minutes???? We who live her in False Bay are well aware of the dangers of surfing, swimming, but to add chumming to the mix when we had a prediction of strong winds from Cape Point to Cape Aghulus over the period of time whilst they were chumming was just asking for trouble.

      Terence - 2012-04-19 20:17

      He canceled it because he knew there would be an irrational, emotionally charged, uninformed mob at his door.

  • Terence - 2012-04-19 20:11

    It's a damn shame that any fool thinks it was the filmakers fault. Shark research has been happening and will (hopefully) continue happening for ages. People will get chomped by sharks. The water is their territory. Simple as that. It doesn't take a yank to kill a surfer.

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 20:21

    @ Terence Do you live in False Bay??? When the fishermen cast their nets recently at Surfers Corner in Muizenburg the shark siren was sounded within minutes as a precaution. What does that tell you??

      John - 2012-04-19 22:18

      It tells us that sharks love bait fish.... and sharks love bigger predators who eat bait fish, like the yellow tail the drag fishermen were wanting to catch... But what you not telling is that there are OFTEN sharks spotted in this area... thus the reason for shark spotters, and what you not telling us is that there has been a huge number of shoals of bait fish in the bay, because of the warmer water over the last few weeks which results in an increase in predator fish, and the predators of predator fish... Lets try leave emotions out of this debate and consider ALL facts, not just one we may have a particularly strong feeling about, be it right or wrong.

  • Shaylene - 2012-04-19 20:26

    This is a tragedy and may he rest in peace, however we all stand a chance of being attacked by a shark if we swim or surf in the sea and yes maybe the baiting may have contributed but he was in the sea in an area which has got a high volume of great white sharks ,there was no high alert put up when people heard about the filming and baiting of the sharks. Even when the yank said it would attract them. There is a lot of factors to take into consideration, there is equal blame

      Shaylene - 2012-04-19 21:26

      Sorry I meant to say wouldn't attract them.

  • hein.vonsolms - 2012-04-19 20:39

    Millions of people are dying all around us due to poor living conditions, sickness and hunger, and you all bitch about ONE surfer taken by a shark?. On any day, probably more than ten million people worldwide are in the watar somehere, and none are taken by sharks.Millions of people are killed by mosquito's, bees, hippo's, snakes and cars annually in Africa alone!. Nobody complains about all this!

  • Deon - 2012-04-19 20:41

    Don't blame the sharks , or the national geographic people .... blast the guy who gave the permit to do the filming and by ommission , the chumming .Let Alan Boyd ( the guilty one , who issued the permit) face the music and all the public outrage !!

  • felican - 2012-04-19 20:53

    I am so sad for the young man - but like all 'surfers' he should be totally aware of what is happening in the waters and it was a well known thing that there is a doccie being shot there.... Plus you cannot blame the sharks they are but the creatures of the seas and oceans and have kindly loaned us their space... It is sad yes...

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 20:54

    We in False Bay are not the only people to have complained about Fisher's techniques. Get a wake up people. I blame Alan Boyd for not doing proper research prior to granting this ghastly licence! I say no more shark tagging in False Bay! Finis and klaar. We have had more than our share of shark chumming here in False Bay! If you want to see a great white go to Seal Island and watch it the NATURAL WAY! It is time the authorities make chumming illegal.

      John - 2012-04-19 22:23

      NOT "all of us in false bay" have been complaining about this.... Please don't generalize. I for one am all for research.... Do remember that this research had the support of many of the universities and ichthyologists.. who maybe know something you don't and are interested in research, not emotion and hype

      Fawzy - 2012-04-20 00:42

      Whose we? Mr White is waiting for you.

  • emujera - 2012-04-19 21:14

    This is the highest level of men's need for emancipation irregadless of the danger poised to his folks. Shame to the reseachers. Why couldn't they do it in their home marines. We Africans are tired of being experimented. Live us in peace with our nature. Try it in your homes!

  • Raymond - 2012-04-19 21:14

    I suggest that everybody must rather send condolences to the family of the young man. Research is an fundamental part of our society, I just hope we can find a solution to prevent situations like this through better planned research! To the family, South Africa prays for you tonight!

  • emujera - 2012-04-19 21:15

    This is the highest level of men's need for emancipation irregadless of the danger poised to his folks. Shame to the reseachers. Why couldn't they do it in their home marines. We Africans are tired of being experimented. Live us in peace with our nature. Try it in your homes!

      Fawzy - 2012-04-20 00:41

      Experiment? Home marines? Get real.

  • Anthony - 2012-04-19 21:25

    This incident is extremely tragic to say the least, but nobody is questioning why these guys insisted on going surfing when they knew this valuable shark was on-going in the area. Why are warning signs not posted on the beaches near the research vessel? My self an ex lifesaver from the KZN coast know from years of experience that the surfing community are the most arrogant of all water users. Whenever we banned bathing to the presence of sharks, it would always be the surfers who chose to ignore the ban and would go out surfing despite the warnings. Sometimes we just need to take the consequences for our own actions and not try and blame somebody. To the people from Shark Men please ignore the ranting and come back and do your valuable research as we need it to understand the Great White shark. Your work is extremely valuable.

      Shaylene - 2012-04-19 21:42

      If they could put up a high warning for shark activity near George and Knysna for that beached whale why wasn't it done there?

      Coetzee - 2012-04-19 21:49

      You are sick Man!

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 21:45

    @ Anthony Heck do you have the vaguest conception of the size of False Bay? Do you not understand that not everyone in every nook and cranny of this vast Bay knew about the chumming of Fischer for his latest grand sequel for Nat Geo?? Do you think there are signs up at every single little beach we have?? The responsibility lies with Alan Boyd who granted the licence in the first place without due cogniscence of the results. Someone please fire him.

      Shaylene - 2012-04-20 09:23

      Actually Amanda Alan should have warned people about the filming and that there would be higher shark activity. They did that in Knysna and George when the whale beached its self ( there was warnings setup for a few days). So why couldn't he do it as well?

  • Warren - 2012-04-19 21:50

    Lookk what you have done in your own greed! Our friend is dead and nothing will bring him back! I hope you remember this for the rest of your life! Such a good person is no longer around thanks to you idiots! Hope you happy! Buzz from here! Go back from where you come from! Kooks

      Fawzy - 2012-04-20 00:39

      Ease up son, dont blow your gasket. Rather go to and pray for your friend.

  • Coetzee - 2012-04-19 22:03

    Since controlled clubbing was bannes in 1989 and the GW's protected in app. 1991, seal population on Seal Island has increased from a couple of 1000's to 65000. The best Supermarket for attracting GW's to False Bay. Additional chummung attracted these GW's towards Koel Bay. Like having a bird feeder in your garden. What do they expect? This could have been avoided.

  • alwyn.snyman1 - 2012-04-19 22:25

    is there any food out there for the sharks, don't think so, that's why they moving closer to shores and attack bathers and surfers, man to there food, now they back for revenge.

      Coetzee - 2012-04-19 23:12

      Yes, Seal Island is the main supermarket for the GW's in False Bay but like a bird feeder, if you put one in your garden, you immediately attract more birds. Same for GW's.

  • BmanCav - 2012-04-19 22:45

    I do feel for the family. \r\nI know I am going to get a lot of flack for this, \r\nHow ever if Allen Boyd withdrew the sharkmen permit so quickly. He needs to with draw all the permits of the locals as well. On DSTV this afternoon it shows the local boats with local crews fliming sharks and what is as clear as day on the boats, they are loading creates of frozen fish and chum onto their boats to do the same thing as the USA crews. \r\nJust because the US guys happen to be in the area days before it their fault. Grow up. Sadly it is nature and that is how it goes. \r\nPeople have being saying chumming causes attacks, others say it does not! How about stopping all chumming and go from there.

  • Sharon - 2012-04-19 23:00

    Pls News24 (I already highlighted this point last week): National Geographic confirmed (over a week ago) that they have not renewed the Shark Men series and they had "no idea what Fischer is doing in South Africa". Bottom Line: the over-chumming (more than what is usual in False Bay) could have potentially attracted & frustrated sharks.. that said.. the Government & Cape Town city should have been careful and issued a formal warning to the public! (but instead they told us (those opposed to the project) that we had no mandate to alert the public). Prayers and thoughts to David's family and friends.

  • Wimpy - 2012-04-19 23:18

    1 shark deth car acidents 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000;0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

  • Martin - 2012-04-19 23:29

    White sharks, when aroused by tons of blood, go into a frenzy when approached by anthing faintly resembling a seal...equals bodyboarder dead. If chumming of this scale had not happeneded, I seriously think there would be a tragedy of this nature happeneing now. My heart and thoughts go out to the family. There were 6 sharks in the vicinity directly after this one attack in the whole of False Bay. I live here and that is definitely a sign of heightened shark activity. You guys should be held accountable.

  • lytteot7 - 2012-04-20 00:04

    Only if human beings respected others' territory.

      Fawzy - 2012-04-20 00:34

      They dont and this is not forthcoming. So they have to live with the consequences.

  • PhotoStrokes.net - 2012-04-20 04:26

    1) A permit was issued without using predetermined criteria for baiting/chumming. 2) The new criteria for the permit had no scientific backing for establishing the new criteria. 3) The proximity to populated areas was ignored. 4) The community had no say in the permit and was only involved after opposition raised concerns last minute. 5) The potential danger to the public, even specifically stated an "increase in the possibility for an attack", not only went unheeded by the DEA, but was even countered when Dr. Dirk Schmidt issued his public warning. Boyd went as far as to attack Dr. Schmidt for being "alarmist" in issuing the public precaution. The results = 1) Almost two dozen Tiger sharks caught in a local beach net. A number never recorded to be so high in that area. 2) Shark sightings and behavior never before seen. 3) Finally, the fatal attack along a beach where an attack has never been recorded. The outcome = 1) A possibly preventable death. 2) The outcry against sharks demanding culling and more nets. Simply put, 1) Dr. Alan Boyd and/or Chris Fischer should make a public comment against the purposeful hunting or harming of sharks as a result of the attack. 2) Dr. Boyd should be fired. 3) Fischer should shut down public access to the tracking. It is an unfortunate incident and incredibly saddening to the family. The life should not have been lost in vain and it would be in everyone's future best interests if the family sued the hell out of Boyd and Fischer.

  • PhotoStrokes.net - 2012-04-20 04:28

    The facts are simple: 1) A permit was issued without using predetermined criteria for baiting/chumming. 2) The new criteria for the permit had no scientific backing for establishing the new criteria. 3) The proximity to populated areas was ignored. 4) The community had no say in the permit and was only involved after opposition raised concerns last minute. 5) The potential danger to the public, even specifically stated an "increase in the possibility for an attack", not only went unheeded by the DEA, but was even countered when Dr. Dirk Schmidt issued his public warning. Boyd went as far as to attack Dr. Schmidt for being "alarmist" in issuing the public precaution. The results = 1) Almost two dozen Tiger sharks caught in a local beach net. A number never recorded to be so high in that area. 2) Shark sightings and behavior never before seen. 3) Finally, the fatal attack along a beach where an attack has never been recorded. The outcome = 1) A possibly preventable death. 2) The outcry against sharks demanding culling and more nets. Simply put, 1) Dr. Alan Boyd and/or Chris Fischer should make a public comment against the purposeful hunting or harming of sharks as a result of the attack. 2) Dr. Boyd should be fired. 3) Fischer should shut down public access to the tracking. The life should not have been lost in vain and it would be in everyone's future best interests if the family sued the hell out of Boyd and Fischer.

  • vanbaal1 - 2012-04-20 06:44

    If looking to blame, blame Alan Boyd. Generally if a person asks permission and that is granted, they do it? What qualification does Boyd have to say chumming would have little effect?? He should be having nightmares over this !! R.I.P. bro!

  • Bianca-Anne - 2012-04-20 08:29

    Valsbay area is known for Shark activities...Over the last months their were several sightings and not long ago there were an attack in Fish Hoek. Swimmers and Surfers will go into the water when red flags is up...however I do believe, my uneducated view since I don't know much about sharks and that subject matter, but I do believe that Chris Fischer should have taken into account that it will stir up and attrack more sharks and that someone might get hurt. It was just neglegence on his part. Who is to blame - I don't think either the young man that died or Chris is really at blame. It is just so sad for his family and we should rather avoid fighting and just be civil towards each other.

  • HD120 - 2012-04-24 17:21

    Once again ill conceived and uninformed reasoning rules the day. Even taking out the scientific reasoning, any person with a three digit IQ will be able to figure out that chumming at Seal Island cannot result in a attack at Kogel Bay. If anything it should have resulted in attacks at Muizenberg, Maccasar or the Strand. RIP Dave!

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