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17 Nov 2004

shark attack records
what are the official records for shark attacks on the SA coastline over the last two years?
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Expert
EnviroHealth expert
envirohealth expert

01 Jan 0001

Kevin, the table is appended to the News24 story ‘When it’s my time’. It gives the figures for the Western Cape: last year there were four attacks, one fatal; this year there have been three attacks, two fatal. The Natal Sharks Board reckons there were also 3 attacks (one fatal) in KZN last year, and that this year the national total for attacks is 6 (all Cape, two fatal). There may have been another two in the East London area recently, but the Sharks Board is waiting for more info on these before they are confirmed.

I'd like to include what Sheldon Dudley (Sharks Board) says about shark attack records - it's not a straightforward issue, and gives a very different impression depending on which type of incident you choose to include:
"A provoked attack would not form part of the record. If a fishermen is bitten while taking his hook out of a shark's mouth, for example, that would not constitute an attack. There are grey areas, however. If a spearfisherman has speared a fish and is subsequently bitten by a shark, would that be provoked? We do record such incidents. Also, some incidents result in no injury (for example, a surfer's board may be bitten but not the surfer) or very minor injury (puncture wounds only). Again, we record such incidents but there are quite possibly incidents of this nature that we don't hear about."
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