Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tiger Shark baiting in South Africa - Part lll

Tiger shark: Full of marks, grace, and character
Photo by Wolfgang Leander (Bahamas 2009)
Click to enlarge

Just to keep those posted who are interested in the subject.

Below is a mail I received from one of the twelve Aliwal Shoal shark operators. While the writer is not a "celebrity", he is the type of guy who does his job responsibly and with an unassuming, professional attitude. He seems to be deeply convinced that animals deserve to be treated humanely.

I am not sure whether this gentleman is a shark "conservationist" - probably not, at least he would not describe himself as being one; however, it is what he
does that makes him a shark friend: He protects his creatures from being harmed simply because he thinks it is the right thing to do.

".......... I agree with you greatly that the sharks must not be damaged. We have for years now adopted a different view in terms of the baited diving. Our policy is there is no reward at all for tiger sharks whatsoever. We do not hang carcases on the drums. We are using only sardine and anchovy oil with the drums.

We have been using a very thick cable with a thick rubber coating almost like a thick hose pipe. We don’t use chains. The results for us have been great.


We will still look at other methods with open minds but for us the reward part by hanging carcasses on the cable and drums is a big NO. It is also on our permit exemptions that the tiger sharks must not receive reward or be fed.

While I do not think that 'rewarding' tigers with some smelly goodies will harm them in any way, or negatively alter their behavior with regard to divers, I fully respect this operator's strict adherence to a protocol which he believes is correct.

I understand other operators are already working on developing shark friendly baiting methods. Well, that is great news, indeed!

What unfortunately turned into some sort of a deplorable controversy within shark circles in South Africa, with friends feeling uncomfortable if not outright angry at me when I brought up this issue, and made it known publicly, is now being resolved quietly and effectively. Which is all I wanted to happen in the first place.

Those friends I made in South Africa who now became unfriendly toward me cancelled each other out. Thus, I didn't win but didn't lose either. Everything is still in perfect balance.

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