S.Africa mulls shark net for Cape Town beach

February 29, 2012
A Great White shark jumps out of the water as it hunts Cape fur seals near False Bay in 2010. Officials in South Africa's tourist drawcard of Cape Town said Wednesday that a trial shark net is being considered for a top swimming beach where three attacks, two deadly, have taken place.

Officials in South Africa's tourist drawcard of Cape Town said Wednesday that a trial shark net is being considered for a top swimming beach where three attacks, two deadly, have taken place.

"Since 2004, Fish Hoek Beach has had two fatal shark attacks as well as a third which resulted in severe injuries and the loss of a limb," the city said in a statement.

"As a result of the high presence of within the inshore area of this bay, recreational and social use of Fish Hoek Beach, as well as social perceptions of Fish Hoek Beach, have been negatively impacted."

Authoritities are mulling testing an exclusion net for an area less than the size of two rugby fields with the small meshes designed to keep sharks from entering but prevents other species getting entangled or trapped.

An exclusion net was initially ruled out in 2006 after a study by the world-renowned KwaZulu-Natal Board.

has shark nets only in KwaZulu-Natal, and the city said the proposed barrier for Fish Hoek would differ from these which were large meshed gill nets that catch fish.

The proposal will be put to a subcouncil shortly and, if accepted, an application will be submitted to national environment authorities for a research permit to allow the trial to go ahead in October.

The last attack on Hoek was in September after a British man was mauled by a Great White after he ignored warning flags of shark activity by the city's shark spotters programme.

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