Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Baiting great white sharks is illegal!!

This is a picture that represents the kind of scene that was seen while the man was baiting great white shark in False Bay with a fake baby seal. Posted by Picasa

A Constantia man has been charged with harassing Great White sharks in False Bay. The man, who may not be named until he has pleaded in court, was towing a rubber decoy designed to look like a baby seal behind his catamaran, apparently to attract Great Whites. Two tour operators working on boats around Seal Island saw the man and alerted Marine and Coastal Management (MCM). Pat Stacey, chief MCM inspector for False Bay, said he had waited for the man to return to the yacht club in Simon's Town. "He and his son were on board.

The guy came off carrying a bag and when I searched it, I found the decoy. It was made of pink rubber and cut out to look like a seal. It was about the same size as a baby seal. It has a nice bite mark on it."It is illegal to harass great white sharks, the same as it is illegal to harass whales and dolphins, but there is no distance one is required to stay away from white sharks," Stacey said.
He said MCM had had several complaints recently about people harassing sharks in False Bay."Because of the complaints we had to take action against this guy.

He claimed he did not know it was illegal. "The two tour operators who saw the incident said the catamaran had come whizzing past them dragging the decoy and they both saw great whites leaping out of the water trying to get the decoy. I suppose people do this to show their friends the big sharks, or to take photos, I don't know," Stacey said.Stacey said there were operators licensed to take tourists to see sharks.

These operators had to abide by strict permit conditions. In this way, the public could see sharks, but in a controlled manner.MCM is conducting research on the impact of the shark tourist industry on shark behaviour. The incident happened on August 6.


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