Shark documentary: Permit cancelled after attack

2012-04-19 15:30

Johannesburg - A shark research permit for a US-based documentary maker was cancelled with immediate effect after a deadly shark attack in Kogel Bay in Cape Town on Thursday, an official said.

"I cancelled all the shark research permits for the project ten minutes ago when I heard about it," director of Biodiversity and Coastal Research, Alan Boyd, said.

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

The City of Cape Town closed the Kogel Bay beach, between Gordon's Bay and Rooi Els, after the body of the 20-year-old shark attack victim was recovered.

"We have closed the beach because there are still white sharks present in the water," spokesperson Kylie Hatton said.

The city said it was investigating and would provide more details when available.

Boyd recently granted a research permit to US-based documentary maker Chris Fischer to film great white sharks in the Cape.

At the time it caused fears this could attract sharks to populated beaches. Fischer had been in the country for the last month capturing and filming sharks in their natural habitat for the National Geographic documentary Shark Men.

Dirk Schmidt, a wildlife photographer and author of White Sharks, had called for a high shark alert to be issued, saying it was prudent.

"Unusual white shark behaviour and an increased presence, and possible shark-human interaction or even attacks cannot be excluded," Schmidt said at the time.

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.

At the time Boyd issued the permit, he said the chumming would have little effect close to shore, especially as the large amount would be used over a 20-day period all along the southern coast.

  • npretorius2 - 2012-04-19 15:33

    I actually wondered if chumming the water with 5 tons of chum would have an effect on the sharks' behaviour. Might be coincidence... but we all know that it is the sharks territory and we enter at own risk. Hope no-one blames the shark. Condolences to the persons family

      Kala - 2012-04-19 15:40

      I bet that the fisherman toss over more than 5 tons of fish waste in a 20 day period. This whole incident is pure coincidence. If they wanted to prevent shark attacks on humans the powers that be might as well cancel all swimming and surfing in coastal waters. I say it's very unfair to potentially lay the blame on the door of those wishing to film Great White sharks.

      Mark - 2012-04-19 15:40

      would you like to blame the boy then you muppet

      Smell - 2012-04-19 15:49

      It is obviously not the filming itself. But chumming anywhere near where humans swim is surely asking for trouble.

      Peter-Peter - 2012-04-19 15:49

      It is coincidence...sharks dont read the news paper, so they wouldnt know that some human was planning on dropping 5 tons of chum in the water. There is no chum in the water where the surfer was, so how do you suppose they associated him with chum/food? He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Im amazed at us South Africans...always have to blame something or someone...blame blame blame...nothing ever happens naturally. RIP surfer buddy...he died doing what he loved

      E=MC2 - 2012-04-19 15:49

      Mark - um, yes... How is it the sharks fault exactly? Seriously now

      Kala - 2012-04-19 15:52

      @Mark - You can't apportion blame in a shark attack. Most, if not all, surfers know the inherent danger of surfing in shark infested waters. Most, if not all surfers, know that the cape coastline has large populations of large sharks. To try and say that the chumming of the water possibly resulted in this incident is a bit far fetched. Chumming takes place on a regular basis. I can guarantee you that each time some one goes cage diving the waters are chummed to attract sharks.

      npretorius2 - 2012-04-19 15:57

      I personally think the chumming definitely had an effect..With the incoming tide all that chum gets pushed into the bay and stays there, with no where to go.

      Kala - 2012-04-19 16:06

      Alicia - Chumming is when ground up fish and/or fish oils are thrown in the water to attract sharks to as specific area. Researchers and divers use this method quite reguarly.

      Justin - 2012-04-19 16:34

      Read this article..... how sick.....

      Stille - 2012-04-19 16:41

      chumming is the dumping of blood and fish to attract sharks. I will blame the chumming in all areas in the cape for these incidents. The cage diving fraternity must pack up and leave.

      Dewald - 2012-04-19 16:49

      @ Peter Chum is different to normal fish waste. More like a concentrate to attract sharks. Normal shark cage operators are only allowed to use 25 kg per trip... I live just off the coast where the attack happened and have been surfing there for more than 8 years. Not one shark attack has been reported at the specific spot. Coincidence? I really don’t think so... Also if you understand how ocean currents work you would surely know that the chum won’t just lay there AT SAME SPOT. IT WILL BE PUSHED OUT TO SHORE!!! Caves or Koeel bay (Where the attack happened) is in direct line of site where the filming is taking place. The hunting ground of the great white is located next to seal Island closer to Muizenberg which is way on the other side of the bay. The Film crew is actually dumping 250KG of this blood concentrate a day during filming. Sharks can detect a couple drops of blood from Several kilometres AWAY!! WHAT DO YOU THINK 250 kg OF BLOOD IS GOING TO DO?????

  • Stirrer - 2012-04-19 15:33

    A bit late, isn't it?

  • Vernon - 2012-04-19 15:40

    leave these creatures alone!!

      Brad - 2012-04-20 07:38

      I don't think anyone here is pardon the pun, attacking the Sharks. Everyone in the modern world has an idea of what a shark can do and we all take the risk of becoming a prey item if we swim with them. At the end of the day the shark was just being a shark, it doesn't know anything else except for being a shark. That being said it is still a tragedy and my thoughts go out to the family.

  • John - 2012-04-19 15:42

    Think its a bit premature to blame the attack on the research. Firstly we don't know if they even in the area. False bay is an incredibly large area. Secondly sharks are frequently spotted and have often been photographed at Koel Bay.... ask any surfer who frequents the spot. Seal Island which is where I would assume most of their research is being done is probably at least 40-50km away. Shark attacks happen, lets accept it.

      Kala - 2012-04-19 15:53

      Exactly John. And chumming the water has been going on ever since people started cage diving in these waters.

      Kala - 2012-04-19 16:12

      @Alicia - It would be far more beneficial to rather spend our efforts catching those who rape our oceans and coastlines. Stealing perlemoen and shark fins for example

      carel.hayden - 2012-04-19 16:36

      well, stats shows since cave diving became super popular with the aid of chumming, shark attacks have increased all over the world... I do not think the increase is by chance... lost a super great friend last year by shark, and this have given myself and my mates allot time to self research into the subject... is it worth to risk chumming for the possibility of a human loosing his life... i think no! This is a bad time for the victims family, and family of victims past...

      carel.hayden - 2012-04-19 16:37

      cage not cave, sorry

      John - 2012-04-19 21:32

      @ Alicia @ Carel Consider 2 facts. 1 South Africa was the 1st country world wide to ban the hunting of Great whites. The consequences of that is that there are naturally more Great whites than there were 125 years ago. 2. Water and out door sports and a healthy life style is on the increase. Consider the number of scuba divers now compared to 15 years back as an example. .e. More people in the water, an increase in shark population, will increase the probability of an attack. Carel, you going to have to have to tell us about these stats you talking about, because if you research shark attacks world wide over the last 100 years you will find that there is no significant increase, and if you consider the increase in population both in shark and humans.... statistically its a decrease in attacks.

      carel.hayden - 2012-04-20 11:25

      There is just the same surfers and bodyboarders as 10 20 years ago... scuba is not a concern, as sharks do not seem interested in scuba divers since ever.. I do not feel threatened at all going scuba.. others might, but thats just all in their heads... Capetown has found a decrease in surfing popularity, while further North it might have stayed stable... 1852 to 1990 28 deaths... 1990 to 2011 23 deaths... 2005-2011 13 deaths 15 deaths 2000-2005 5 deaths... Do you see a pattern in South African waters? do you? I will stick to my point... in the last ten years not a huge increase of beach patrons could be a justifiable cause for the increase...

      carel.hayden - 2012-04-20 11:46

      2005-2011 15 deaths not 13... ad 2012 shark deaths and start to think...

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-19 15:44

    YES !!! Those greedy Yanks can take their filming equipment and their chumming buckets, and just b@gger off back to Yankville.

      Gungets - 2012-04-19 19:29

      Well, Justanotherguy - what makes SA special right now is that sharks eat people here. The whole documentary was flawed. The producer is a lazy bastard who is unwilling to do the hard yards to get his footage. There have been many documentaries done without the aid of chum. The local experts objected to the methods at the time, they were right. The Fisheries officials that did not heed their advice must carry the blame.

  • jerogerson - 2012-04-19 15:44

    Seriously? Did no one stop for a minute and think, hmmm, 5 tons of chumming, wonder if we will attract more sharks to the shores? Come on. Get a new brain. Agreed, sharks territory. If I was a shark, chumming would confuse me.

      bfvillet - 2012-04-19 15:55

      have seen this program their methods are frowned upon and permits have been pulled in other parts of the world sometimes this is more about television they were warned and did not listen

      Kala - 2012-04-19 15:55

      I know I'm repeating myself, but chumming takes place often in the Cape waters. Every time some one decides to go cage diving the waters are chummed to attract sharks. Surfers dressed in wet suits often look like seals and are mistakenly attacked by sharks.

      Dewald - 2012-04-19 17:01

      @Kala There is huge difference between 25kg allowed and 250KG from one boat. The wind has also been blowing onshore for a couple of days causing the chum to drift. White sharks usually hunt and move around the coast alone. This guy was attacked by 2!!! Research has been going on since the early nineties and they have also found that sharks sometimes follow the vessels back to shore. Chumming has definitely increased shark attacks over the last 2 decades. Especially in Cape waters where these guys breed.

  • stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-19 15:57

    Yay, I had the slimey, overtoothed monsters. They should all be banned to Australia. The sea is not all theirs, it belongs to us to enjoy water sport etc as well. Just because I don't have fins doesn't mean I can't swim! I am sorry for you my sharks that you were not designed with legs so that you can roam the land but that's really not my problem.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-04-19 15:57

      I mean I hate them.

      Shirley - 2012-04-19 16:51

      Justanotherguy: I think both!

      jason.rossouw - 2012-04-19 17:08


      Marlene - 2012-04-19 17:09

      @Stefan - Would you walk in a game park where there are predators all over. When you go in the water, You are in the shark's territory. We have already taken most of the land from land animals.

      Brad - 2012-04-20 07:48

      You have got to be the dumbest dumb person alive. Please stop breathing as there is most likely an intelligent person near you and you are stealing oxygen from someone who can use it.

  • Daniel - 2012-04-19 15:58

    He was apparently 20, not 30?? Can someone clarify and ensure accuracy? It's just insensitive - its not just a story, its someones son, brother, friend.

      Dominique - 2012-04-19 16:33

      Daniel, he was 20. He was out bodyboarding with his best friend when he was attacked.

  • Dylan - 2012-04-19 16:02

    Pity a man had to die before they came their senses.

  • Olivia - 2012-04-19 16:03

    Ther permit allowed this company to throw more than 2 tons of chum into False Bay per day. Sharks are predators who will adapt their behaviour based on available food. They are not dumb animals in any way. Its a fact that the behaviour of sharks has changed in the last 8 years. Yes, since shark tourism has become more popular.

  • William - 2012-04-19 16:08

    Lets wake up and smell the coffee ! Knowbody is to blame, we all, including myself enter the water at our own risk!!! That's like saying a crocodile or lion is to blame if it kills a human. It occasionally happens and will continue to happen!!!

  • Skwertno1 - 2012-04-19 16:11

    Too little too late for him, hey Mr. Councillor

  • Thoka - 2012-04-19 16:14

    they said my comment was crap, Asking if film or documentary could be the cause of this attacks. Misinterpretation i guess

  • Leo - 2012-04-19 16:20

    Humans are owners of land and sharks are owners of the blue sea, The creater dId it that way..The one that plays IN the territory of the other, will surely be as good as toast!

      jason.rossouw - 2012-04-19 16:57

      \Humans owners of the land\ I beg to differ! All we do is f*#k everything up eg: Rhino, leopard, elephant, tiger, gorilla and even the red belly tortoise now! Us humans should start living with our beautiful planet instead of trying to dominate it!!!

  • rudi.louw1 - 2012-04-19 16:31

    The attack is very tragic, but the fact that the permits have been cancelled completely unfounded. The Ocearch team is currently 400km away from False bay working in Mosselbay, and have been busy here for a few days. There can be no connection with their chumming and this attack. The team is gathering valuable information regarding the movements of these large animals, something we have not had access to before. This can also help identify shark hot spots that surfers should avoid. These sharks have been on this planet for millions of years, way longer than us and they should be respected as large predators. This is a risk that all surfers are aware of, and this is said with the utmost respect for surfers. The 5 tons of chum that was reported is continually mentioned cause sensation. Have a look at Ocearch on facebook, and also have a look at Ryan Johnson, respected shark researcher, read what they are really up to and the form opinions.

      John - 2012-04-19 21:42

      Ahhh... An opinion based on facts and not just emotions.... Now heres a change... Its amazing how uneducated some of the readers are, and yet they will offer an opinion based on "fact and stats" sucked out of their thumbs....

      carel.hayden - 2012-04-20 15:46

      @john... read my non thumb suck stats above... it is actually chumming in the whole that could be a factor. Not sure how much tons of chumming actually go into the our ocean, but I'm sure our cage dive charters could say... I do feel it is unfair that just the research gets nailed... take away the shark charter and fishing chumming and leave the latter for research maybe? Then it could be better

  • christiescatz - 2012-04-19 16:32

    They have to believe the chumming of sharks has something to do with the increased activity in the area otherwise why would they cancel the permit. Why do we as humans continue to interfere with wild animals and expect no one to get hurt!

  • leon.vanderwesthuizen - 2012-04-19 16:45

    This is the reason why Shark Men was banned in other countries as mentioned in the Argus of 26 March 2012.

  • Gary - 2012-04-19 16:48

    chuming should be stopped ,especially when it is used for caghe shark diving, it alters the behavior of sharks (pavlovs dog experiment)they are starting to associate boats ,humans with food.

  • ryno.lawson - 2012-04-19 17:02

    This is all spectulative jumble. Half the facts said by the article and the readers are mixed up. I think people should be patient and wait for more info before forming their opinions. There was a alert of high shark activity issued over a week ago. Surfers should know this. Anyone enter ingthe water in cape town anyday of the year does so at his/her own risk. The research being carried out on the by Fischer crew is being done in order to gain a greater understanding of the sharks migratory patterns. ie. where do they go to feed, where do the go to give birth, why do they come close to shore. The tagging and releasing of the sharks are done for the protection of the species. The documentry is just a by-product of the research being carried out cause if you going to pump money into research you want to see a return on your investment. lastly with regards to 5 tons of chum being put in the water. its not all at once and its not all in one spot. I have also heard reports that its not as much as 5 tons. Would universities put their reputations at risk if chris fischer is going waste their time. Dont always believe what you read.

      Wayne - 2012-04-20 10:02

      Spot on, well said

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-04-19 17:17

    You learn something new every single day. I had no idea what "chumming" was before today. I had to google it.

  • Nanette - 2012-04-19 17:23

    It is time that we as humans showed some respect for the ocean and it's inhabitants, blame there is no blame, when you enter the sea on a board you know the risk and particularly in certain areas, the film crew are not to blame and neither is the shark, nature and that is what it is and who are we to question this great force.

  • Hans Heydra - 2012-04-19 17:26

    At the risk of being flamed... In the 50's to 80's sharks were hunted and culled in great numbers along the South African coast line. I have seen photos of 7 - 12 Great Whites strung up as trophies. There was no environmental protection for this species. Shark attacks dropped proportionately. Their has been a population explosion of Great Whites along the South African coast line in the last thirty years and so too has the shark attack increased proportionately. It may be time to start culling again. Just my 2c.

      John - 2012-04-19 17:46

      I AGREE!

      John - 2012-04-19 21:48

      I do not agree with your culling opinion, however you correct as to the increase in shark population. Now consider that together with the increase in human population and increase in water sports.... Hello. expect a few more people to be nibbled

      Stuart - 2012-04-20 10:02

      Humans or sharks?

  • Louise - 2012-04-19 17:50

    Could this be why they found 20 Tiger sharks in the nets at Scottburgh - they said there was a slick in the water that could be attracting them?

      Gungets - 2012-04-19 19:33

      Yip - the chum floated 1500km north. Look out Mozambique. Have a sign.

  • Tony - 2012-04-19 19:05

    Whoever issued these permits in the first place should be fired! If you cancel them now, you should have been able to foresee this in the first place. Numerous warnings. Absolutely pathetic!

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 20:26

    @Alicia I agree 100% with you. Shame on Alan Boyd for ignoring the warnings from our locals. We have had strong onshore winds for days which would definately have blown the chum on shore.

      John - 2012-04-19 21:52

      A south easter is an OFF shore wind at Koel Bay and Gordons Bay and ON shore at Simons Town.... Got to get your facts right.... AND... Apparently the are not presently filming in False bay.... So just maybe it has nothing to do with chumming..

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 20:33

    @ ryno lawson. Sorry you are wrong. Why was Fishers licence cancelled when the shark they tagged ended up with a hook in its mouth??? This has more to do with Nat Geo making bucks than it will ever have on Great White research. Leave the Great Whites alone and continue to protect the greatest most fascinating species left on this planet. And lets face it with the rhinos virtually extint there are not many left.

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 22:07

    @ John Sorry about that - you are right, the winds have been ON SHORE here in Simonstown but that does not necessarily negate the responsibility of chumming.

  • Amanda - 2012-04-19 22:12

    @ John ok on shore in Simonstown and off shore in Gordons Bay and surrounds. However the information which I heard was that chumming was to be done in the whole of the South of the Bay so what is the point of being technical now?

  • Wayne - 2012-04-19 23:24

    Maybe the commercial fishermen are to blame depleting all the fish stocks with Kilometres of nets, maybe they are pumping waste into the ocean, who really knows. Man has upset the balance so blaming the research team for chumming in my view is weak. What happens when a dead whale floats around, that's more than a ton of chum, does that spark off a state of attacks? We have had 8 attacks in the last 3 years here in West Australia where 6 of them have been in the last year and that wasn't from chumming. We dont have shark nets either which some people may frown upon, but that prevents the destruction of sharks and other marine life. It all boils down to " Enter at own risk"

  • Willem - 2012-04-20 01:09

    A shark is a ruthless predator that shows no mercy to its prey whether it be a seal or human being, if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time your are a big trouble. Please we have to realise that we share the water with that of a big predatory fish that doesn't take any nonsence, and cannot see the difference between a seal and a surfer...until it's too late.

  • elia.theocharis - 2012-04-20 05:30

    I was one of the first on the scene when Tyna Webb was attacked and lost a good friend at Long Beach, Dawie Bornman a few years before to a Great White attack. Having grown up in Fish Hoek, being a lifesaver, watersports lover, I am left in two minds on this issue. Fishing quotas in Kalk Bay were revoked which led to the seals moving on and sharks used to hit the kalkie seals often- at least 1 sighting every 2 weeks. Nobody is to blame here, the fact is False Bay has over the past 30 years become the perfect spot for Great White activity. These Sharks are protected, they are breeding and our waters are frequented by millions every year. False Bay has the highest number of White sharks per square km in the world. It is amazing that the casualties have been restricted to less than 10 in the past 30 years. If they saw us as food we would have seen thousands of deaths in our waters. They are truly beautiful creatures and it would be a shame to see mass culling of White sharks as a result of this. From my house on the mountain in Fish Hoek you can clearly see 5m sharks cruising with their fins out of the water and their belly scraping the sand- thats waist deep. There are too many factors which have led to this area being perfect breeding and hunting grounds for White sharks to lay the blame on anyone. I say live your life, enjoy the water. Dawie and Dave died doing what they loved, not many people get to say that. 1 in a million- I'll still take the chance. One in a million

  • - 2012-04-21 23:26

    Let's isolate the issue in the South African attack... it is not a question of if the attack was "caused" by Fischer. Unless we go ask the sharks and they can answer, we will never know if there could be a link of previous chumming, the day's chumming, or the tagging, with the shark attack. It is very well likely that there is no link. The issue at hand is if Boyd had included the public and issued a "precautionary warning for possible increased shark activity", would Lilienfield have held off going in the water? Would they have increased spotters along the beach to give better warning? Would more people walking along the water been on the lookout and warned officials of previous sightings earlier? But instead, even after a number of us warned them about the consequences of an attack, Boyd publicly dismissed any "possibility" for increased shark activity and then caused such claims of a possible attack "alarmist".

  • karindissel - 2012-04-22 08:51

    Sharks are associating us with can one blame a animal ! it is 100% human fault that these things are happening so much more frequently! My sincere condolences go out to his family, esp his brother who's trauma must be un-paralleled!

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