Thursday, May 03, 2012

Good news from South Africa - for a change!

Thomas Peschak photographing "Dartboard / Karin"
Photo: Wolfgang Leander (2007)
Click to enlarge

The Umkomaas / Scottburgh shark dive operators finally got their act together, and have decided to "paddle out for sharks" on May 6th to pay their last respects to the sharks that were killed en masse entangled in the shark nets toward the end of April. 

Is this perhaps "Dartboard / Karin", pregnant as she appears to be ??
Photo: Blue Wilderness (April 2012)
Click to enlarge

While this will be a "soft" event, lasting no more than some 15 minutes,  it certainly could, and hopefully will, with the appropriate media coverage, leave an initial mark and trigger more forceful protests against the shark nets that have been put up on the beaches facing Aliwal Shoal.

Everybody knows, including the people who run the Natal Sharks Board, that the nets are the problem; they simply have to come down if world-famous Aliwal Shoal and its sharks are to be preserved as an international top shark dive destination. 

Without sharks, Aliwal Shoal will lose its appeal COMPLETELY. The sharks are the ONLY attraction of that place. Period.

It is not too late to try to repair the huge damage the nets and the illegal fishing in the area have already caused in the last few years. 

However, time is of the essence!

Here is the report from Amanda Barratt with all the details:


I am pleased to announce that in a collective motion, KZN dive
operators and concerned shark enthusiasts will meet at the nets on 6th
May at Scottburgh, as a symbolic gesture in remembrance of the large
harvest of predatory sharks in the shark nets at Aliwal Shoal this

Everyone is welcome. Please see the email below from host Cormac
McCreesh for details and respond to either Cormac or me for further

Amanda Barratt

Oceans Society
Programme Coordinator - Humanities Extended Curriculum
College of Humanities
University of KwaZulu-Natal


Dear all

On Sunday 6 May, the Aliwal Shoal dive operators will have a "paddle
out" in memory of the tiger sharks, great white sharks and black tip
sharks  caught in the Scottburgh nets in the past 10 days. While the
death of these sharks is the catalyst for the paddle out, it really is
about all the marine life that gets caught up in these nets and the
impact on marine life all along the KZN coast line.

This email is about the logistics for the paddle out.

The plan is for the dive operators to assemble at the Scottburgh nets
at 7am on Sunday 6 May, which means launching at 630 in order to
arrive at the nets on time, and arrange themselves in a circle (as
best as can be done in the circumstances). 
Once at the nets, everyone
will have an opportunity to say something in memory of the animals
that died (and have died and will die until the nets are removed) in
the nets and "toss" flowers or whatever they deem appropriate into the
centre of the circle. The "ceremony" is expected to be no longer than
15 minutes after which everyone will likely head off to dive -
effectively enjoying the diversity, beauty and experience of diving
Aliwal Shoal.

Thus far commitments are as follows:

Agulhas House - Brett - committed 2 boats (1 boat will likely be used
as a platform for filming and taking of photos,  press and non-divers)
Oceanworx - Carl and Juan - committed 1 boat
Blue Vision - Carol and Ferdi - committed 1 boat
Umkomaas Lodge - Bryan and Lelanie - committed 1 boat
Blue Wilderness - Mark Addison, via Allen Walker - committed 1 boat
Aliwal Shaol Adventures - Emil and Michelle - committed 1 boat
Diving in Africa - Kevin Graham - committed 1 boat

I have not been able to confirm Marc Bernardis from the Shoal nor
Walter Bernardis from African Watersports but am certain they will
confirm their support in the next few days.

All in all, we should have between 6 and 10 boats representing the
dive operators.  To the dive operators - thank you for your support.

Allen Walker has committed to getting images from the water - either
from underneath, half-in-half-out, surface etc ... the potential for
emotive images is huge.

Dori Moreno has committed to getting topside images.

Gordon Hiles has committed to filming the entire event, including what
is said by each operator or person there.

Beth Neale has committed to editing the footage such that it can be
used to promote the problem, the commitment and resolve to find a
solution. The edited footage will be made available online for use by
whomever wants to use it.

Images will also be made available online for use by whomever wants to use it.

Similarly a press release(s) will be made available for use by
whomever wants to use it.

Trevor Hutton will be in KZN on that day as part of his and Lesley
Rochat's "freediveforsharks" campaign, and has committed to being at
the paddle out with his team.

Other committed individuals (and/or the organisations they represent)
so far are:

Fiona Ayerst
Amanda Barrett
Lesley Rochat
Ben Hodgson
Ivan van Heerden
Debbie Smith
Paul hunter
with more to follow ...

Work is ongoing on getting press and media coverage as well as support
and will be communicated as and when commitments are made. Also work
is ongoing in getting other users of the sea (in particular Scottburgh
and Aliwal Shoal) to be present.

I will also invite KZN Sharks Board to participate in the event plus
representatives from the Scottburgh municipality .

Thank you for your time in reading this mail.


feel free to mail me or anyone else on the list with ideas, assistance
and so on.

mail me your logo, preferred contact details and website information
so that I can include these on any public releases (I already have
Agulhas House, The Shoal and Oceanworx's logos).

Mail me with any links to websites that we can include in press
releases in order to educate the general public too.
feel free to mail this to anyone whom you think may wish to attend the
paddle out.

To everyone involved - thank you for your support, commitment and involvement.


Cormac McCree


Let's see what comes out of this. I can do no more than wishing the 'paddlers for sharks' all the best.

No comments: