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  • Writer's pictureFrankie Chipparoni

The Kwazulu-Natal Shark Nets

An essay by Kwazulu-Natal native Tagen Tims

Series of shark attacks have occurred even with the precautionary and “safe” shark net measures put in place. The deployed nets have been around since 1952 – 2022, 70 years, on average globally sharks kill 5-10 people yearly, and in contrast, humans kill 100 million sharks yearly.

In KZN alone since 1952, 46 people were attacked with 10 being fatal, at the netted beaches, whilst 27 600 sharks, and potentially way more with other marine life, have been slaughtered, dissected, and discarded. This method of carnage and irresponsibility is unnecessary and an illusion of false security to the public. The image below shows the beaches under the KZNSB control, and the information underneath it represents the number of attacks on each designated beach.

From the gathered research, the majority of the attacks occurred in places that have connecting reefs/river systems, with food sources, during the rainier months that promote ‘mistaken identity cases’, with this in mind most attacks were carried out by juvenile sharks and whilst the victims were doing frantic activity, indicating to the shark as a ‘vulnerable/easy meal’. Most attacks were also non-fatal, showing us that the shark would’ve realized what it chomped into was a human & not its desired prey.

In comparison to the attacks, an updated statistical graph has been calculated to confirm there have been 103 880 reported drownings since 1952, this calculates to an annual of 1 484 drownings yearly in South Africa alone, of which 29% (450) occur with children under the age of 14 years old. This should be our main priority, not concentrating on interfering with nature & disrupting the natural behavior of these apex predatory fish, with this method of “protecting bathers” you’re deliberately and unfortunately igniting the possibility of an unprovoked shark attack. Regardless nets don’t provide security, they promote risk.

My question is why do we spend our well-earned tax money on maintenance of the nets/drumlines, that cause more damage and lives? When we can fully contribute to the real safety of people in SA. By donating/spending tax rands on organizations that help prevent this unfortunate reality.

We should prioritise teaching beachgoers about current awareness, becoming weather conscious, and safety measures to get themselves out of a potential drowning threat, instead of the high unlikeliness of encountering a shark. All these attacks happened over a long period, the odds of getting attacked by a shark and dying is 1 in 3,748,067, you’re more likely to die from choking (1 in 2,535), than being attacked by a shark.

Summary of Stats:

List of netted beaches:

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