Fish Hoek beach may get shark net

2012-02-29 15:48

Cape Town - Fish Hoek beach in Cape Town may get a mesh shark net to make its waters safer, the city said on Wednesday.

The 355m long exclusion net would offer a potential long-term solution to safety with little to no risk to the marine environment, said environmental planning mayoral committee member Belinda Walker.

She said the city's proposal for a trial installation at a corner of the beach would be considered by the local sub-council.

The city would then make an application to the national environmental affairs department for a research permit, allowing the trial to go ahead.

The beach has been regarded as unsafe because of three shark attacks in the last eight years.

British tourist Michael Cohen was attacked in September last year, with a shark biting off his right leg above the knee and part of his left leg below the knee.

In January 2010, Zimbabwean tourist Lloyd Skinner was pulled under the surf and dragged out to sea by a great white. His diving goggles and a patch of blood were all that remained in the water.

In November 2004, a 77-year-old woman, Tyna Webb, was taken by a shark while doing the backstroke.

The city believed the high presence of white sharks in False Bay had negatively impacted on the recreational and social use of Fish Hoek beach, as well as local tourism.

KZN Sharks Board

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board was called in to assess the possibility of an exclusion net for the beach in 2006, but did not recommend it at the time.

Walker said it was time to re-consider.

Exclusion nets were not the same as the shark nets being used in KwaZulu-Natal.

The mesh exclusion net acted as a barrier against sharks but its holes were too small to entangle marine animals. KwaZulu-Natal shark nets were placed further out at sea and were not species selective.

The proposed area to be cordoned off would be smaller than the size of two rugby fields.

If the trial was successful, authorisation for a permanent net would have to be granted in terms of the National Environmental Management Act.

Although public participation is not required under a research permit, citizens would be consulted to raise their concerns.

The project would probably go ahead in October if approved.

  • Chris - 2012-02-29 15:53

    In the meantime I'll be sticking to the pool.

      Jarryd - 2012-03-01 06:52

      Why don't they make better tidal pools along Jagger Walk, similar to the ones you see between Kalk Bay and St. James. At least it would be a safe salt water alternative to going straight into the open sea along the beach.

  • Deon - 2012-02-29 16:07

    It is much safer in the water than our roads. We could do with "road controllers".

  • Theodor - 2012-02-29 16:13

    No more fish hoek, only "hoek"!

  • Russell - 2012-02-29 16:17

    More people have died on the railway lines between Fish Hoek and Muizenberg in that same time period, or on a 4 km stretch of Kommetjie Road- perspective required.

      chad.marais - 2012-02-29 16:27

      Thats not a very accurate comment - think about how many people walk on that road in comparison to swim at that beach on a daily basis .... a couple of hundred a day as apposed to a handful ... obviously the figures would suggest more people die on the road You obviously don't surf much. I appreciate that people are starting to think about putting nets up - but to say that it will have little to no risk is retarded - False bay is the biggest great white breading ground on earth - those Johnnies trawl that coast line daily and to suggest they're not going to get caught in those nets is pretty short sighted I'm all for protecting ocean users - I've had encounters with a white before and its the most terrifying thing you can image - but putting up something thats going to kill them isn't fair ... people need to start thinking out of the box ... we have the technology to get this right without being invasive

      Alan - 2012-02-29 16:49

      And it's better to get killed by a shark than, eg, to be a hit-and-run victim. In the after-life, at the pearly gates, or meeting a new angel, far more style attached to 'A great-white got me; why are you here?' to the inevitable question.

  • Carol - 2012-02-29 16:22

    I say "NO" to Shark Nets People should learn to look at the warning flags before entering the waters of Fish Hoek

      Chris - 2012-02-29 17:00

      That's great Carol, see if you can outswim a great white once they've spotted it and set off the siren. I've been in the water a couple of times when the siren has gone off.

  • phathuchicos - 2012-02-29 16:42

    so this summer its gonna be lekker in shores hey...can't wait.

      Alan - 2012-02-29 22:57

      Forgive me, Mr Azanian, but I truly haven't got a bloody clue what you mean.

  • amanda - 2012-02-29 16:47

    I say a definite NO to the mesh nets. No guarantees other species will also not die as a consequence. Selfish decision. If the Kwa Zulu Natal Sharks Board did not recommend an exclusion net what has changed since 2006? I'll tell you what - people only thinking about themselves. Guaranteed there is going to be a huge controversy locally again about this in our local press. The shark wars have begun!

      Achmad - 2012-02-29 16:57

      Your comment is a kneejerk reaction - Until we know more about the fence and whether any marine life could actually be harmed by it, lets hold off glib statements until all the facts are presented. You can make a statement then. I would hate to lose a loved one through negligence or not doing anything about a proven danger.

  • Se-a Spencer Ikeremm - 2012-02-29 16:53

    As humans, we have to start letting other creatures be. Why does the shark & other larger fish have to be restricted? Isn't it enough that we are able to roam everywhere- land, water, sky? Next thing they'll want to put nets in the sky too so that the planes don't get disturbed. And I'm not an advocate for wildlife or global warming or any of that crap, but we are getting ridiculous.

  • Ben - 2012-02-29 16:56

    Net suck! This is total BS!

  • amanda - 2012-02-29 17:04

    @ achmad What are you talking about?? We have shark spotters on Fish Hoek Mountainside who do a fantastic job, we also have a siren - apart from flags warning people. If you cant see and you cant hear then dont swim at Fish Hoek Beach.

  • geneburrow - 2012-02-29 17:27

    There are so many mixed opinions about shark nets in these comments. Seriously, the easiest solution is simply not to swim there, or heed the flags. It's not a complicated matter.

  • Marlene - 2012-02-29 17:28

    The sea is the sharks', (beside other fish and mammals), domain. Why do we feel we can destroy every other living thing, because it is inconvenient to us and our desires and wants. Would you walk in a reserve where there are wild animals around. We have almost got rid of most land animals, because they are a threat, or inconvenient, to humans. When you enter the sea, you are taking the risk of being a victim to some predator. If you don't like the risk, stay out of the water. Human surf and swim for fun. Sharks and the like, need the sea for survival. It is their home! Have some respect for other creatures on this planet!

  • John - 2012-02-29 17:37

    A correction.. There have been two fatal shark attacks in the last 8 years. Thats an average of 1 every 4 years. In my opinion Michael Cohen "attempted suicide". He'd been asked not to go into the water because there were sharks present... Lets not blame the sharks for his gunge-ho egotistical behavior. Leave our sharks alone....

  • amanda - 2012-02-29 17:41

    I cannot see the wisdom in netting Fish Hoek Beach soley. It is only a tiny section of False Bay. Do people not realize that sharks are also spotted at Muizenburg's surfers corner and that there is a siren there too. I have been there on numerous occasions when the siren has gone off. Very short sighted of the City of Cape Town!

  • Dirk - 2012-02-29 17:58

    Nets are an outdated form of control, not only does it ensnare and drown hundreds or thousands of other creatures, it does not singularly target Great Whites. It has been well established that humans do NOT form part of the White sharks diet, and that consumptive attacks such seen on Fish Hoek are extremely rare. More than 80% of all White shark victims survive, given the awesome poser of this animal to pursue and catch nimble seals, a human poses no challenge to a white shark. The KZN netting statistics show the massive slaughter of "non-target" species including dolphins, turtles, and other sharks. It is likely that if similar nets are implemented in Fish Hoek, that we will see a similar decimation of local shark populations, all for the price of humans bathing for a few minutes. We need to remind ourselves that we enter the sharks domain, a shark that has shown to be far less aggressive as presumes, and its maligned status is not deserved. I truly hope that the power-to-be consider the impact carefully, in preservation of this endangered species, and that we share the Oceans sensibly and without irrational fear, and with respect to those that dwell in it. Dr. Dirk Schmidt Author: White Sharks - magnificient, mysterious, misunderstood

  • jonny.g.gonzalez - 2012-02-29 20:09

    The fact of the matter is that three people have been nibbled at this very beach in the last few years. Time to put humans first and tell those with the fairy-brained environmentalist proclivities to shove off.

      Marlene - 2012-02-29 20:25

      @jonny. We have ALWAYS put humans first. That is the problem. We have billions of people on the planet. Not so for the unfortunate animals and plants of this planet. The animals always come second. They cant fight back and save themselves from extinction. They don't have weapons, they don't even have a voice. They need people to help them from selfish, arrogant, greedy people, like yourself.

      John - 2012-02-29 22:24

      @ Jonny, I see from Montevideo, Uruguay, And this affects you how?????

  • Adriaan - 2012-02-29 21:16

    While I am all for saving the environment and protecting the animals and fish (sharks included), we need to also look at protecting and making Fish Hoek beach safer for all users - I used to "live" on the beach as a youngster swimming, bodyboarding and later years paddlesking, but lately developed an intense fear of the water after all the fatal shark attacks and constent shark warnings - something must be done constructively soon or else there could be another shark victim soon and it could be your family, son, daughter etc. - why not also look at a trial period of intalling an anti-shark electrode beams? - although much more expensive that "exclusion nets" the costs of it should be far less over a period compared to FH beach becoming only a "walker's beach " and seeing all the tourist choosing other safer destinations etc - the daily beach parking fees could also contribute towards the costs of these devices too? I say give the authorities a chance with this "exclusion net" - we will know soon if it is going to provide much-needed protection (also when "trekking" takes place) or contribute to killing other larger fish (what about dolphins???)- my son is otherwise gonna grow up in a pool with his board and not know the joys of using our local beach safely. Lastly we must also stop comparing shark fatalities with road and other transport mode fatalies - totally different environments and causes.

      Marlene - 2012-03-01 07:55

      @Adriaan - Please see my above comments. They relate to your post. You are having fun at the sea. The sharks and other sea creatures need the sea to survive. Its no fun for them to be hunted to the brink of extinction.

  • Glen - 2012-02-29 21:38

    And how will we know if the trial has been successful?

  • Alan - 2012-02-29 23:02

    Passes are the answer. Anyone wishing to swim at Fish Hoek should have a valid 'Pass to Swim' and any shark desiring to nosh on a homo sapien should similarly have the appropriate documents. But the shark passes will not be valid during daylight hours. Very simple.

  • bell.liam - 2012-03-01 11:17

    This is ridiculous, 2 of those 3 attacks took place when the people concerned ignored all warnings to stay out of the water due to the high numbers of sharks in the area that had already been spotted. Are we really going to build a giant mesh net because people are too ignorant to follow information they are given? Is this seriously the best use of what I assume would be a large chunk of cash....I think not!

  • bell.liam - 2012-03-01 11:20

    This is ridiculous, 2 of those 3 attacks were on idiots, I mean individuals, who ignored warnings not to go into the ocean at those locations because of sharks that had recently been spotted there. Furthermore the 77 year old lady had swum there almost everyday for 20 years or so before the incident. I think there are far better ways to spend this money instead of trying to make stupid people safe in the's not our home we are just visiting and should respect this fact not abuse it!

      Marlene - 2012-03-01 16:13

      I fully agree, bell.liam!

  • Taryne - 2012-03-01 15:16

    Thats awesome. I have great memories of playing on the beach, in the water, seeing how deep we could go without getting scared. I was afraid my daughter would never get that wonderful experience.

  • michelle18391 - 2012-03-01 15:21

    How about we just simply swim at other more "shark-free" beaches??

  • Carl - 2012-03-01 21:08

  • weldon.broughton - 2013-01-29 10:44

    Stop shark cage diving.

  • brett.retief.7 - 2013-01-29 10:55

    I am from Fish Hoek, and I was a life saver for most of my childhood, we never had sharks they never came into the bay, but they started to shark cage dive and over the last 15 years they have been coming into the bay, and in the last 4 there has been 3 attacks.

  • ruben.maistry - 2013-01-29 11:58

    One does not mention the reason for increased shark attacks.I have been told by a tourist who lived in Hawaii that since they banned shark cage diving, the attacks on humanes have decreased significantly.

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