especially those involved with the Great White chumming/cage-diving industry, the so-called shark 'experts” & “researchers', and all people/organisations involved with ocean use activities, coastal
tourism industry and all relevant government departments."
- There has been a massive increase in Great White Shark attacks on humans in Cape waters since 1991
Look at the "Cold Fact" box here.
Look at the attacks details section here.
- There are four "freak" years, 1994, 1998, 1999 and 2005 where the attacks were higher in number than we would statistically, normally expect.
- In 1994, of the 9 attacks, 3 of the victims were spearfishing
- In 1998, of the 15 attacks, 1 was spearfishing, 1 was "moving a shark in a net," and 1 was "washing bait off hands."
- In 1999, 1 victim was spearfishing
- In 2005, 2 victim activities are unknown and 1 was spearfishing
Using the records provided from 1992 - 2009
- From 1992 to 2000, there were 52 attacks and 5 fatalities, a rate of one in eleven.
- From 2001 to 2009, there were 41 attacks and 10 fatalities, a rate of just under one in four
- 1991 - 2 attacks
- 1990 - 6 attacks
- 1989 - 9 attacks
- 1988 - 11 attacks
- 1987 - 6 attacks
- 1986 - 13 attacks
- 1985 - 9 attacks
- 1984 - 12 attacks
- 1983 - 15 attacks
- 1982 - 8 attacks
- 1981 - 9 attacks
- 1980 - 10 attacks
- 1979 - 7 attacks
- 1978 - 6 attacks
- 1977 - 7 attacks
- 1976 - 11 attacks
- 1975 - 10 attacks
In the seventeen years (post cage diving) between 1992 and 2009, there were 93 attacks, an average of 5.5 attacks per year.
So this "massive increase in Great White Shark attacks on humans" since cage diving started is actually a gradual decrease in shark attacks since cage diving was introduced.
I know what you're saying, we didn't say "shark attacks, we said Great White Shark attacks" and to you I say, go back and look at the data this site provides, in many cases a species is not attributed to the attack and in South Africa particularly, species attribution for shark attacks was notoriously inaccurate. The simple "cold fact" here is that, as more people enter the water and more people actually purposefully enter the water with Great White Sharks in the waters from "Cape Town to St Johns Beach" attacks are decreasing.
Even as cage diving gets more an more popular in the seventeen year period this site uses, the statistics show that attacks are actually decreasing!
Hardly a "massive increase," in fact, quite the opposite.
1. who is actually being paid what, where exactly is the money going?
One would imagine the money goes to the business owner and ultimately, a percentage of profit (millions and millions of rand) is paid in tax to benefit South Africa.
2. why does it appear that there are no previously disadvantaged members of society involved in the industry and providing the services?
If you know me, you'll know I like a bit of socialism, helping those with less than ourselves but this argument is nothing less than insanity. It costs money to set up a business like a cage diving operation and thanks to apartheid, millions and millions of people are still suffering from the oppression forced upon them. This is tantamount to going up to a homeless man and saying "why don't you get a job?!"
3. apart from “shark spotting” which if the sharks were still behaving normally, would not have been required, can you confirm what, if any, job training/skills opportunities, community investments the cage-diving industry is making to help ordinary South Africans?
Hotels. taxis, airport shuttles, restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, takeaways, millions of tax rand etc etc. As far as I am aware, pre-cage diving, Gaansbaii could hardly be described as an epicentre of tourism, ditto Port Lincoln in Australia.
5. why, after every unfortunate shark attack, do the so-called “experts” immediately respond by saying in the media that “chumming is no problem and that there is no proof that it conditions or modifies shark behaviour in any way. The shark made a mistake and we should accept that there is always a normal, slight risk of being attacked by a GW if we venture into their domain.” Does this argument still hold true if the sharks are abnormally aggressive and the number of attacks is increasing?
They say that because for the most part, it's factually accurate.
6. where did the Fischer boat (Shark Men Program) millions actually end up?
Almost certainly in Fischer's back pocket, I'm as little a fan of his as you are.
7. why do people like Gregg Oelofse talk in the press about “the small immaterial chumming by permitted cage divers”. The Fischer boat does actually tag the sharks and does not hang humans in the water. Is it not possible constant chumming by permitted cage divers is “hugely material” and actually the real cause of the problem?
9. if chumming is no problem, why did Boyd stop the Fischer boat “5 ton chum permit” immediately after the Kogel bay attack?
That's a fair question actually. Most likely an immediate reaction to public pressure but that's for the man himself to answer.
10. why do we read articles saying it was impossible for the Fischer boat chum to reach Kogel bay because of the wind, also that the shark that attacked David Lillienfeld, (the Springbok body boarder who was tragically killed), wasn’t a tagged shark. Why are these people defending chumming and tagging so vehemently?
Why are you so vehemently against it?
11. a few years ago, after protecting alligators in Florida, their numbers increased logarithmically and they became a pest. Authorities in Florida were forced to institute a culling program. Can you please confirm that you are sure that the South African Great White population is not increasing logarithmically to dangerous totally unsustainable levels?
Alligators reproduce at a much. much faster rate than Great White Sharks and how can a naturally sized population of an animal be described as "unsustainable?"
12. in what way are the sharks actually being helped. If they are protected, how is the cage-diving helping them further? Can you be sure that the chum/cage-diving industry is not conditioning sharks to be abnormally, aggressive towards humans & therefore directly responsible for the recent increase in the number of shark attacks?
Tourism creates money, cage diving creates tourism, a regular and increasing annual financial boost to the South African economy means there is a financial benefit for a government to protect Great White Sharks. Without the financial support of tourism to see live sharks, what's left? The financial incentive in dead sharks and shark fishing.
Shark diving relies on live sharks.
13. why do the “experts” like to explain that the reason that the sharks are coming inshore and attacking more humans is because they have less fish to eat. This may be true, but how can our response be to just sit back and accept it. Why are there no measures being instituted to try to increase the fish or limit the shark population?
"Increasing the fish" would mean severe fishing quotas. Take those to the local commercial fishermen and let me know how you get on with that. Killing off the sharks would also potentially lead to a further decrease in fish stocks meaning even less for the fishermen to catch and a totally fucked up marine environment, meaning nobody wants to go in the water anymore, meaning tourists go elsewhere.
14. how can the controlled killing of “rogue”, territorial sharks near human attack areas and drum lining be regarded as best practise in Australia and other countries (where they have less attacks) and regarded as totally unacceptable in SA?
Because "rogue sharks" don't exist.
15. will the so-called “experts” including Alison Kock, explain why the usual excuse for a shark attacking a human used to be “the shark bite was simply exploratory and they made a mistake because it is clear that GWs don’t like to attack humans” has now been replaced by “the shark attacked the surfer THREE times until it tragically killed him”. Is this migration from “unfortunate mistake” to “relentless aggressive attack” not proof of negative conditioning caused by chum/cage-diving?
16. how can it be possible that society accepts the opinion of the so called “shark experts”, that “there is no proof that chummed sharks are becoming more aggressive” when no-one is searching for that proof and doing any of the required essential investigations. Is there “no proof” because perhaps everybody is conveniently avoiding looking for it?
17. can it feasibly be true that “nothing has changed at all with regards to shark behaviour” if during a morning news bulletin on SA FM (Saturday the 28th of April), a “Great white increased activity warning” was issued for False bay. Is this not clear quantification that the shark situation is currently nowhere near being close to normal?
It's all relative. Sharks frequent False Bay less than they did fifty years ago because there are less sharks. In correlation with that, we now have more media, the Internet, camera phones etc meaning more sightings are reported and visible to a wider number of people. There aren't more sharks, just more people with the capability to tell people when they see one.
19. is it not possible that the great argument that “chumming/cage-diving brings in much needed foreign revenue” totally incorrect because this revenue is way less than the millions being lost because beach going tourists and locals are avoiding SA in their thousands because of shark attacks?(ask the Muizenberg and Fish Hoek businesses)
Please do an extensive study of every single business in the areas near cage dive operators, comparing their takings, profits and taxes paid to before the cage diving operations appeared and include with it, the numbers of people, local and foreign, visiting the beaches every year, then come back to us with your findings.
20. finally and most importantly, please tell us what you think about the following future quite feasible scenario: Those parties or experts who continue vehemently and blindly to defend the chum/cage-diving industry and thereby prevent its immediate shut down and the essential scientific investigation that is required, are thoroughly investigated themselves. If it is found that their behaviour was motivated by money and a blatant conflict of interest exists, that they are held liable for damages/compensation to injured parties and if possible within the law, prosecuted and punished if criminality can be proven. The size of the feeling of outrage and opposition to the chum/cage-diving industry amongst South Africans, throughout the country (just look in the newspapers) should not be underestimated. Raising the finance that will be required for the investigations and the necessary class actions, from so many people, is totally feasible. STOP THE CHUM/CAGE-DIVING INDUSTRY IMMEDIATELY!
Are you saying that everybody who supports the cage diving industry should be forced to justify their reasons and provide financial records so you can ascertain whether you think their motivation is financial or not? Is it not fair to say that the operators themselves are of course motivated by financial reasons as this is their business?
THE SIMPLE SOLUTION
1. Stop dangling humans in cages from boats into chum trails immediately and use technology to allow the tourists to watch the sharks underwater from the chum boats.
But this still means the boats will be chumming...
2. Use modified “glass bottomed boat” technology to view the sharks underwater.
But this still means the boats will be chumming...
3. Keeping humans out of the water will stop the electromagnetic fields that they emit, being incorrectly associated with food by the sharks and their normal behaviour will stop being negatively modified.
4. Make sure that there is an immediate investigation instituted to quantify as far as is possible the balance between shark numbers and available food. After all, it is essential for this balance to be correct for future sustainability. The controlled culling of elephants in game parks to restore this balance is accepted as essential for their survival.
There you go with the culling again...
5. Cull (by helicopter, boat or drum lines) resident aggressive conditioned territorial sharks, as well as all sharks that are found lingering around shark attack sites for the first 3 hours after the attack, for a period of 5 years.
Eventually all negatively conditioned sharks will have been removed, the remaining shark population will return to normal behaviour patterns and the incidence of unfortunate attacks on humans, reduced to a minimum. This will result in a natural situation for ocean users and if managed correctly, continued protection of the environment and the Great Whites.
Make your own minds up of course, use all the available scientific research out there if you want and if you want to discuss whether you agree or disagree, then please do so in the comments section here. As always, when I highlight what I see as something not so good, as done by others, I invite you to address your points here in public for respectful discussion so Justin, if you want to discuss any of my points, please feel free and welcome to do so below.
Have a good weekend everyone.