Environmental disaster looming off SA coast

There’s an environmental disaster looming off the South African coast (you probably got that from the title of the post, to be fair).

But don’t worry. I have a plan to sort it all out.

First off though, some background. Picture this scene, if you will:

This site was home to an exceptionally large group of sevengill sharks. Divers could dive with up to 70 sharks on a single hour-long dive – no other place in the world had this many broadnose sevengill sharks in one place.

I’m really not into sharks or diving, but I do recognise the importance of biodiversity and the amazing fascination of a pristine location to view, research and interact with wildlife.

That should be protected.

But there is trouble in paradise. Something has changed:

The change was noted with the discovery of several dead sevengill sharks by scuba divers from a popular dive site inside the Table Mountain National Park marine protected area.

Yes, you read that correctly. This unique site – this protected site – for sevengills (as those of us in the know call them) has been desecrated.

This is clearly unacceptable.

Initially, the cause of death remained a mystery because no dead sharks were recovered for examination. Initially fingers were pointed to humans.

And isn’t this always the case? We are a truly appalling species, with ne’er a thought for the flora and fauna with whom we share our planet.

We’re so very destructive. It’s time to buck this trend.

Of course, once a bit of research was done, actually it turned out that it wasn’t humans at all, but Killer Whales that were taking out these sharks (I mean, the clue’s in the name, guys), tearing them apart solely for their livers:

There were distinct bite marks on the pectoral fins of the dead sharks. These evenly spaced, circular tooth impressions were identified as most likely being from a “flat-toothed” killer whale, which is rare in coastal waters. There were no bites anywhere else on the body, indicating that the killer whale (or whales) had likely pulled on the pectoral fins to open up the body cavity, to remove the liver.

When humans do this: take one part of a shark’s body and dump the rest, there’s outrage. And so should there be in these cases too.

It should be noted that these monochromatic bastards hunt dolphins too. Back in 2010, I witnessed sheer terror in a pod of dolphins as the killer orca followed them into the shallows near Simonstown. This pursuit wasn’t accidental. It was clearly done on porpoise. It was a horrifying sight.

 

The unique shark – and dolphin, and seal – population of False Bay is being decimated and no-one is doing anything about it.

Until now.

Because if the authorities are going to drag their feet over some sort of response to this awful slaughter, then us mere citizens must step up to the metaphorical plate.

That’s why I’ve been in touch with a number of whaling companies in Japan and Norway, and I’m happy to report that there’s definitely some good interest in coming down and spending a few weeks in the sunny Cape protecting our unique marine habitats.
Let’s face it, it’s cold up North at this time of year and when one can bring one’s crew out on a jolly to such a beautiful place and earn brownie points from the local population by picking off a couple of destructive predators, you’re not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, are you?

Look, it’s early days because both Captain Nordstrom and Mr Yashimato are still unsure about how they’re going to get their boats across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans respectively, but I’m confident that we can work something out and knock off these troublesome black and white twats and save our False Bay sharks before it’s all too late.

Watch this space.

Upon discovering sharks

Much is made of the Bull Sharks found in the waters of the lower Breede River, but I think we’re pretty safe about about 150km up the Orange.

Sadly, one of the many reasons that we might be safe is that there really isn’t a lot of water for sharks (or anything else) to swim in.

Sharks gonna shark

Increased shark activity is expected through spring into summer say the City of Cape Town. The primary reasoning behind this increased shark activity is that sharks are more active during these periods of the year.

I know. I was also amazed.

Sharks are generally pretty good neighbours. Since I have lived here, there have only been three or four fatal attacks in and around Cape Town, and notably, every single one of them has been in the sea: an area which – as a human – is actually wholly avoidable if you should so choose. Although the sample size is tiny, I have extrapolated LCHF-style and worked out that you can probably evade a fatal shark attack by not going in the sea – no matter what sort of stunts the sharks might try to pull.

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But if you are determined to go into the water, then the City has helpfully published seventeen ‘general shark safety tips’ to reduce your risk of being eaten. These include (but are not limited to):

“not swimming if you are bleeding”,
“not swimming, surfing or surf-skiing if there has been a whale stranding nearby” and
“paying attention to any shark signage on beaches”

That last one makes good sense, but one can’t help but wonder that, given the alleged intelligence of the Great White, they might not use it to their advantage. I’d therefore be immediately suspicious of paying any attention to any shark signage reading:

“Come on in. The water is lovely. And absolutely no sharks have been sighted here. Ever. Seriously. Go on – have a swim!” or
“Please ensure that you bathe thoroughly in Braai Sous before entering the water. Nothing too spicy. Thanks.”

or similar. That looks iffy.

If you want to read more on sharks, shark-spotting, shark safety and shtuff like that, have a look at the City’s press release or visit the sharkspotters website.

Above, the infamous Headington Shark.

Sport

Yes, I was at the rugby:

image

No, Province weren’t very good (and neither were the Sharks).
Yes, I was glad that I had Sheffield United’s victory (and a nice draught Milk Stout) to make me happy.