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South African warning for beach goers because of TV show


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#1 Drew

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:27 AM

Seems Fisher Productions are ready to dump 5000kg (tons) of tuna to bait sharks for their production of "Shark Men." I'm not a fan of the show, even though I know many of the people involved, especially one guy on the show who is really good people, who's done lots of positive research on fish. Still 5000kg for 10 days is a bit excessive if they manage to use it all. Having been to Muizenberg beach and the other beaches in False Bay, if the currents do throw the chum into the beach areas, the chances of shark encounters does increase. That's the fear of Dr Schmidt, who is now making noise at MCM for allowing the permits.
There's a bit of local politics and scare mongering. But it does raise a few questions:

http://www.wavescape...um-warning.html

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#2 jtresfon

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:54 AM

Hey Drew

Also not a fan of the show and think that Dirk Schmidt has a couple of valid points. However check out this statement from respected shark scientist Alison Koch regarding Dirk's petition... Seems there's been a lot of misinformation all round...

Shark Spotters Statement regarding Shark Men

#3 Drew

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Ah the politics of sharks in ZA! :) The problem of he said, she said! :P

Here's Alan Boyd's(the guy who allowed the permit to chum) reply:

http://www.zigzag.co...S-OVER-CHUMMING

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#4 Kevster

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:38 AM

Surfer killed today in Gordons bay. Leg bitten off by 5m great white.
Chumming for the TV production has been stopped.

Edited by Kevster, 20 April 2012 - 02:40 AM.

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#5 ErolE

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:11 AM

Here is the original reply to the chumming application by Shark Spotters, which dismisses some of the myths in the previous articles.

http://sharkspotters...5-16-april-2012

Very sad about the attack, as always which will ramp up an already highly charged situation.
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#6 Kevster

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:46 AM

Impossible to prove but too much of a coincidence in my opinion.
These guys may have a lot to answer for

Edited by Kevster, 20 April 2012 - 07:07 AM.

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#7 MikeVeitch

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:47 AM

any guestimate on the distances involved from where they were chumming and where the guy got bit?

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#8 Drew

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:50 AM

Here's the "official" report from the city of Kaapstad:

http://www.capetown....harkAttack.aspx

I'd want to know if the chum actually trailed to Caves/Kogel Bay and how many ppm, that'd be the only damning evidence if any.

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#9 ErolE

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:00 AM

any guestimate on the distances involved from where they were chumming and where the guy got bit?

Hi Kevin!



Assuming they where chumming around Seal Island the attack would have been 30km+ away.

I am not familiar which the show so have no comment on that front. At this stage, however, my thoughts go to the victims friends and family.

A sober analysis of the impacts that the chumming had (if indeed they where chumming on that day) can be undertaken at a later stage.

The loss of another young life, which cannot be replaced, regardless of where we would like to apportion blame. A sad day, for all of the Cape Town surf community.
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#10 ErolE

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:09 AM

I'd want to know if the chum actually trailed to Caves/Kogel Bay and how many ppm, that'd be the only damning evidence if any.
[/quote]

Completely agree

At this stage it has to be said that the pattern is similar to many prior attacks on surfers/swimmers, with one bit causing death due to blood loss. After the bite the shark showed no interested in following up the attack with the body drifting ashore. Based on this is it likely to be a juvenile shark exploring prey options.

Also in common with many attacks in the area there was feeding activity seen in the vicinity, which would account for the presence of the animal.

Based on the weather the Westerly/SW wind would have driven the 30l of chum used towards Muzienberg, away from the location of the attack.


Again none of this information helps the family and friend of David Lilienfeld cope with what is clearly another tragic incident in False bay.

E

Edited by ErolE, 20 April 2012 - 07:16 AM.

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#11 SimonSpear

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:03 PM

Lots of very respectable people were literally frothing at the mouth a couple of months ago when news of the latest shark men white shark stunt surfaced. Lots of politics and back stabbing of course, but the reaction from our community has been pretty unanimous in its condemnation from day one even without the latest tragic incident and whether or not it was attributable to their actions.

#12 Drew

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:29 PM

Simon, what are they condemning? The fact that they are chumming for sharks? Landing them for tagging etc?

Not that I'm an advocate of Shark Men but data like this:

https://www.facebook...1...5166&type=1

is pretty awesome to know. TV brings in much needed money for research... as do Sheiks, oil companies etc. (Sorry SOS, couldn't resist!) Irrational fear is one thing, but when people spout fear for politicking and fear's sake, it's detrimental to learning and progress. Sorta like aquariums etc, except there's quantifiable data garnered like migration habits etc.

Erol, wind is only one (major) factor. The chum could ride currents etc. The possibilities are plentiful which means it can't be easily proven with present technology. I'm pretty sure the families of the deceased would like to know definitely how it happened and that it can be avoided/prevented.

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#13 aboshoff

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:38 PM

Western Cape to Garden Route is very shark active at the moment , Wednesday saw 1 surfer who experienced a failed attack , 45 min later a paddle boarder got "buzzed" by Great White Shark . Both off Lookout beach, Plettenbergbay. Knysna had a shark warning on Tuesday following a whale carcass on Buffels bay.

Helicopter operators in Plett confirmed the presence of multiple large sharks close inshore on this side of the coast. Last week we had pockets of sardines close inshore.

Shark attack could happen again . It could be that the sea conditions, Sardines building up , is responsible for the presence of sharks irrespectable of what the Shark Men are getting up to.

Edited by aboshoff, 20 April 2012 - 10:42 PM.


#14 Drew

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 10:43 PM

Yes well it's that time of the year. So lots of coincidence abound. It'll be problematic to prove or disprove the chum had anything to do with it. Boyd did no favors to their cause by pulling the permit.

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#15 aboshoff

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 11:10 PM

Boyd was in a difficult position , pressure from enviromentalists and the gross of the uninformed( shark unwise) public in the one ear.Reasoning in the other . He didn't have much option and publicaly he had to reduce a risk factor . Especially following the outcry prior to the arrival of the Shark Men , and the fact that should it happen tommorow with them around chumming ( despite everyone else doing it ) public emotions will run high (for the wrong reasons). This could be bad for all.

Edited by aboshoff, 20 April 2012 - 11:15 PM.


#16 Drew

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:30 AM

Exactly. If one looks at the data, in the 90s, there were apparently 6 incidents and 1 fatality (but that was a spearo, which opens up another can of worms and possibilities). In the 2000-09, in the time where chumming in False Bay by operators hit a high note, it was up to 12 incidents and obviously from 2010-2012, there have been a few more. There has definitely been an increase in people in the water as well so that skews the stats as well.
Organizations like Sharkspotters, have also increased vigilance over shark presence. But there is no Shark Spotter activity in Kogel Bay.
However, those incident stats still give those who are against chumming for dives (for whatever reasons) ammunition, right or wrong. Increased population activity, increased great white population and increased shark activity around Seal Island, not to mention boats dumping their crap in the water in the bay. All these things play a factor and trying to assign majority blame is bad science and mostly voodoo!

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#17 SimonSpear

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:05 AM

I have to be a little careful what I say as we had conversations with the producers a few months ago, but I think it is fair to say that the condemnation in general was for their presence in South Africa catching White sharks for TV, not for any increased risks of attack their presence may cause (if there were any).

Personally I'm not against catching and releasing sharks for scientific purposes - I've done it myself - but their approach and the systems they employed were more geared for good TV and sports fishermen high adrenaline thrills than they were for the welfare of the sharks that they captured. Quite frankly anyone who watched their Guadalupe 'show' and was not appalled should hang their head in shame.

However my point was that many respectable conservationist who would never normally hang their hat in the Sea Shepard direct action corner were outraged that the Shark Men TV program had been given permission to catch white sharks when it goes against every current law in South Africa. Let's be clear, no mater what 'personalities' are involved in an attempt to give this legitimacy, this has very little to do with science or good practice and an awful lot to do with ego, money and TV ratings.

Anyway that is the most diplomatic answer I can summon so I better not say any more or I'll end up getting myself in trouble....

#18 ErolE

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:30 AM

Erol, wind is only one (major) factor. The chum could ride currents etc. The possibilities are plentiful which means it can't be easily proven with present technology. I'm pretty sure the families of the deceased would like to know definitely how it happened and that it can be avoided/prevented.
[/quote]


Whilst there maybe many other factors involved, tide, bottom currents, longshore drift etc, surface current is generally driven by wind. Where wind is negligible other factors may dominate, but in the strong wind over the weekend, this is likely to be the determining factor.

Aside for arguing the oceanographics of the bay, it is clear that that is a bad result for the South African shark tourism. Particularly when movements such as this are becoming more vocal, supported by high profile surfers, photographers and magazines. http://www.stopshark...iving_facts.htm

That virtually all their ''facts'' are based on supposition, innuendo and anecdote doesn t seem to offset the perceived weight of their argument.

Edited by ErolE, 21 April 2012 - 03:33 AM.

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#19 Drew

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 04:16 AM

Hehe well yes. We don't want you to break confidentiality or get in trouble!

Unfortunately, as a rule, good TV is about entertainment first and science is secondary. The show's methodology is definitely brings out the villagers with pitchforks and torches! The cost/benefit analysis should be looked at. Has Mike Domeier's data been useful? I mean the theatrics is one thing but someone like Mike, who's done some great research on great whites and marlin, has to be justifying it with the data collected. I have to say, there is no easy way to land a big great white to do all the stuff they want, but most importantly the sat tag which lasts longer than any pole attached ones. It's not like one can use a tranq and reel it in.

I think it's very excessive but if there's good data coming out of it, it may turn out to be a good thing in the long run. He's been doing it for 3-4 years now and he's published several papers. It'd better be worth the flak he's getting now.

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#20 Drew

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:55 AM

Ocearch finally replies officialy, sorta:

https://www.facebook...150836082855664

In the wake of the unfortunate death of the bodyboarder Mr. David Lilienfeld during a shark attack at the Caves in Kogal Bay, False Bay, explorer Chris Fischer from OCEARCH and collaborating scientists on the expedition have come under severe criticism from certain members of the public. The ferocity and timing of the attack, and details of “chumming” being practiced to lure sharks to the vessel OCEARCH in False Bay for capture and scientific sampling, were alleged to be linked by these members of the public giving rise to condemnation. The critics argue that the expedition was to blame for causing a chum slick that resulted in sharks being present at the location of the attack, and/or causing the aggressive behavior of the shark responsible for the attack, possibly through conditioning (i.e. association of humans with food) or handling, or all of the above. The scientists collaborating on the OCEARCH expedition offer a broader and more objective perspective regarding both the activities of the expedition and the likelihood that the activities led to the fatal shark attack on April 19, 2012.

Considerable attention has been given to the documentary aspect of the OCEARCH project and speculation exists that the research being conducted during the expedition is driven by television. This the scientific team of the expedition, consisting of over 30 leading South African and international shark researchers from more than 16 institutions, would like to categorically deny. We have been very impressed by the manner in which the OCEARCH crew and production company have fulfilled their commitments to us (namely providing resources and expertise for the capture and release of sharks for scientific purposes) without compelling us to deviate from our accepted scientific protocols. The sampling protocols for this project are based on the latest scientific knowledge and are the most comprehensive that have been developed for shark research in South Africa to date. Research requiring invasive procedures has been assessed by animal ethics committees of participating institutes (e.g. the University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town) and ethical standards are rigorously monitored by senior state veterinarian Dr Pieter Koen, who has been on board throughout the expedition.

White sharks have been protected in South Africa since 1991. The basis of this protection was precautionary because consumptive exploitation of white sharks (as trophies and for the fin trade) may have become unsustainable. Since protection was introduced, scientists have been mandated to conduct research to produce the data required to monitor the health of the white shark population, and to determine whether existing legislation was adequate to ensure conservation and sustainable non-consumptive use of the species in South African waters. Due to limited funding the scientific community of South Africa was struggling to meet these objectives. The partnership with OCEARCH has offered an unprecedented opportunity to achieve our mandate to produce the knowledge required, using equipment and manpower resources that would otherwise be beyond our reach. Collectively the scientists involved in this project (their names and affiliations are given below) have been responsible for advancing the state of knowledge on South Africa’s sharks over the last 20 years through 60 peer reviewed papers on great white sharks and over 250 peer reviewed papers on other shark species. The expedition is the largest collaborative shark project yet in South Africa (and quite possibly the world).

The OCEARCH expedition lists ten research aims pertaining specifically to white sharks to address the globally limited understanding and poor conservation status of the species which is classified as Vulnerable in terms of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Four of these aims are highlighted as follows: (i) To describe age and gender specific range, distribution and movement behavior of South Africa’s white shark population, (ii) to contribute to critical population studies by collecting photographic identification data of individual sharks, (iii) to assess the national and international stock structure of white sharks via genetic analysis, (iv) to examine the reproductive status of individuals via blood Specifically the use of SPOT satellite transmitters will enable us to monitor the daily movements of each study animal for a period of up to five years. These data will be used to identify the critical habitats, migratory pathways, range and distribution of this species in southern African waters and further afield. In addition, the use of internally placed RCODE acoustic transmitters will allow monitoring of the coastal movements of animals for up to 10 years showing their seasonal use of different habitats such as embayment’s and the near-shore zone. Knowledge generated in this way can capacitate resource managers to effectively mitigate threats to this species by developing effective conservation and management measures. Such knowledge may, for example, include identification of areas where white sharks are vulnerable to exploitation, identification of habitats that are critical for mating, birthing, and feeding, and insight as to whether our white shark stock can adequately be conserved locally or whether regional or international cooperation will be necessary. Of relevance here is that one of the study animals has subsequently swum into Namibian waters and two others have entered the high seas.

Knowledge of white shark distribution (spatial and temporal) and habits is also relevant to the mitigation of shark-human conflicts. A further aim of the expedition that has particular relevance to shark attacks is (v) to advance bather safety through near real time, high precision tracking of coastal white shark behavior. Yet another (vi) is to advance the treatment of shark attack victims by sampling pathogenic bacteria colonies occurring in the mouth and on the teeth of white sharks.

What is the likelihood that the OCEARCH activities contributed to David Lilienfeld’s death?

Firstly, we would like to clear up any misconceptions about the amount of chum that that we used in False Bay. Certain members of the public have alleged that this amount was 5 tonnes. In fact, the quantities were as follows: approximately 10 kg of sardines over a 2.5 hour period on Sunday 15 April (our first day of research at Seal Island, False Bay) and approximately 24 kg over an 11 hour period on the Monday 16 April. To put this into perspective, each of the 80-100 12-man handline ski-boats that launch at Rumbly Bay during the snoek season will use 60-80 kg of baitfish in one day of fishing in False Bay. At no time was marine mammal used to chum. The chumming was monitored and guided by Dr Pieter Koen (senior state veterinarian), a Department of Environmental Affairs Ocean and Coasts official and a City of Cape Town official (Sunday only) and Ms. Alison Kock (Shark Spotters).
All of our research in False Bay was conducted within 300 m of Seal Island, some 26 km’s away from the location of the attack. White sharks naturally aggregate at the seal colony during this time to predate on Cape fur seals which is the reason the research team choose to work there and merely sampled sharks already in the vicinity rather than attract sharks into False Bay. During these operations, the predominant wind direction was SE, therefore any chum would have drifted in the opposite direction to the location of the attack and due to the amount for a few hundred meters only. We concluded our research activities on mid-afternoon of Monday 16 April, three days before the fatal attack. The vessel then travelled to Struis Bay/San Sebastian Bay over 200 km away where we continued with research on the Tuesday and Wednesday. On the day of the attack, the OCEARCH vessel was at Gansbaai, 70 kms distant from the location of the attack.

The shark that attacked David Lilienfeld was not one of the study animals. We had captured and tagged four sharks in the vicinity of Seal Island during the two days. On three of these we attached a SPOT tag to the dorsal fin, but in the case of the other animal, the dorsal fin was deformed (bent over to one side), so we released her without a satellite tag There was no evidence of a SPOT tag or of a deformed dorsal fin on photographs that were taken of the shark that attacked Mr. Lilienfeld. Moreover, regular, reliable signals have been obtained from two of the three instrumented sharks following deployment, providing highly accurate locations both prior to and after the time of the attack. The behavior of these two sharks appears normal, with activity mainly focusing around Seal Island as well as inshore in known white shark habitats near Strandfontein and Macassar. Until now, neither shark has moved close to Kogel Bay.

Previous white shark tracking research in False Bay shows without a doubt that Kogel Bay is repeatedly used by white sharks during winter and summer months. Wherever large sharks and people share the same space, there is potential for conflict. Especially in summer, the movements of white sharks in the inshore areas of False Bay bring them into close proximity to popular recreational areas, where a steady increase in the numbers of people using the surf zone has probably increased the potential for shark-human interactions. From 1960 to the present, there have been 28 known shark attacks in Cape Town’s waters. The attack on David Lilienfeld was the sixth of these that was fatal. David’s death was just as sad and shocking to the scientists and crew on board OCEARCH as it was to the public. Several of us are also keen surfers or body boarders. It is unfortunate that certain members of the public have attempted to account for the incident by attaching blame to the OCEARCH expedition. There is no reasonable evidence to support the contention that we played any role in provoking the attack, the timing of which we maintain was purely coincidental with regard to our research that took place near the opposite end of the Bay a few days prior.

In conclusion, it is very unfortunate that misinformed criticism has led to the premature termination of this unique and valuable research expedition and we request the immediate re-instatement of the permit to continue the research.

List of the scientists collaborating on the OCEARCH research projects (including student supervision, technical support and veterinary support)

Dr. Malcolm Smale Bayworld (Project leader)
Dr. Pieter Koen State Veterinary Services
Ms. Meaghen McCord South African Shark Conservancy (Project leader)
Mr. Ryan Johnson University of Pretoria (Project leader)
Mr. Geremy Cliff KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (Project leader)
Dr. Sheldon Dudley KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
Ms. Sabine Wintner KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board
Dr. Nigel Hussey University of Windsor (Project leader)
Dr. Les Noble Aberdeen University
Professor Marthan Bester University of Pretoria
Professor Susan Dippenaar University of Limpopo (Project leader)
Dr. David Delaney Oceans Research (Project leader)
Mr. Enrico Gennari Rhodes University
Dr. Paul Cowley South African Institute of Aquatic Biology
Mr. Dylan Irion University of Cape Town
Ms. Alison Kock University of Cape Town (Project leader)
Ms. Alison Towner University of Cape Town (Project leader)
Mr. Oliver Jewell University of Pretoria
Mr. Adrian Hewitt University of Cape Town (Project leader)
Ms. Madie Calitz Ampath
Ms. Kathy Cummings Oceans Society
Mr. Adam Johnstone Oceans Research
Dr. Matt Dicken Bayworld (Project leader)
Mr. Kyle McHugh University of the North West
Dr. Aaron Fisk University of Windsor
Dr. Adam Barnett University of Tasmania
Mr. Ryan Daly Rhodes University
Ms. Michelle du Toit Bayworld
Mr. Justin Blake Rhodes University
Mr. Andre Faul Oceans Research
Mr. Tristan Scott University of Pretoria
Ms. Michelle Wcisel University of Cape Town


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