This morning, 14 tiger sharks were caught in a single shark net installation off the coast of South Africa. World outrage has ensued, as these sharks, who have become infamous around the world thanks to the amazing photos and videos from the Shark Angels, are a protected species living in a protected area in a country who prides themself on being able to let tourists experience a Big "7" - which ironically includes sharks - the very species the government is slaughtering. The 14 fully grown adults - including pregnant females - caught and many of them killed - in a single day is not only heartwrenching, it is a disaster for the local environment and economy. . Read Shark Angel Gail's firsthand account of the REAL TRUTH. Not the Sharks Board manipulative and inaccurate report of the situation (who are desperate to control the media and want to earn their $4.5 million a year to kill the species that desperately needs protection).
The days of killing animals out of fear are over. And one only need to look at Yellowstone Park, in the U.S., as a prime example as to the far-reaching impacts of these short-sighted acts. South Africa - a country whose environmental policies, fueled by booming eco-tourism, should be setting precedence for the world. At a time when we are racing through our natural resources at unsustainable rates, destroying wild animals simply because we can, or because of irrational fears fueled by a lack of knowledge, is no longer acceptable. We will not stand for this destruction.
Written by Gail Addison
I turn, with my heart in my stomach, and my stomach in a knot, to leave the northern bank of the Scottburgh beach. Things are not adding up.
I have just watched the Sharks board crew, in their bright orange oilskins, offload the dead 2.3m male tiger from the Sharksboard boat, to the back of one of their pristinely kept, very expensive, land cruisers.
So why are there more sharks board vehicles coming down the beach now if the job is already done?
Why is the boat going back to sea when their trailer and support vehicle are here ready to trailer them?
Why did they lie to the beach controller at Park Rynie about a bogus outboard motor failure, as a reason for not beaching where they had launched?
Why did they lie to the gatekeeper here at the Cutty Sark hotel about their reason for having to get onto the beach?
Why are there so many of their employees all over the place here like orange ants, scurrying around the beach?
I was hoping that all these lies were just about trying to cover up killing just one tiger shark. How horribly wrong I was! It was about massacring an undisclosed number of tiger, and keeping it very quiet. And the lies were not about to end…
I have to leave the beach, as I am already late for an airport transfer for guests, who have been diving with these magnificent predators for the last few days. Guests, who contribute to making our sharks worth more alive than dead. A figure that was worked out in 2007 to be worth R 18 million per year to the South African economy.
I am spinning out. My Shark angel team are going to be hard to rally together, Olivia (our media liaison) is in India, Julie (our Shark Angel team leader) is still asleep in America 9 hours behind South African time, blissfully unaware of the murder that has just taken place under the pathetic institutional banner of bather protection….There is a storm brewing. The sky is dark. The rain is coming down.
So the litany of lies and the web of deceit continue evolving through the day. I was even shoved out of the way as the Sharks Board attempted to hide the destruction:
By mid morning, the Sharks board has issued an official press release, stating that 14 tigers were found in the nets and that their nets killed only 5. But we know that Sharks board is not to be trusted on any reports ever issued, and this time is to prove no different.
An honorary Parksboard official phones in to report 6 dead tigers lined up on the beach waiting for collection by the Shark board trucks. Either Sharks board officials cannot count or they cannot tell the truth?
Next I receive a phone call from Fiona Ayerst Shark Life saying that NSB told her that there was whale meat n the sharks gut content!
Hold on!!!! It’s April. There is not a single whale in sight, and nor likely to be one for at least another 2 months. So this is a really STUPID lie.
But also, by Sharksboard’s own admission on previous occasions, it is practically impossible to tell whale meat and dolphin meat apart when from shark gut content. So most likely this has been one or several unfortunate dolphins caught and drowned in the nets that have brought the tigers in en-masse, to scavenge, and have sadly met their own demise.
Sharksboard will avoid openly admitting to dolphins in their nets though. So this piece will most likely only ever be our estimation of the situation.
Then of course there is the “mystery slick” that the NSB allude to in their press release.
Firstly and most importantly, Mark, my husband and Shark Angel, was in the bay and there was NO slick evident.
The only slick was from the nets, where there were 2 sea birds circling, and would have been a combination of the gastrically everted contents of the tigers stomachs as a result of the stress of the net capture, and the mammal source which drew them to the net in the first place.
And then, the piece de la resistance: The surf life guards watch the sharks board sneak out the to southern slipway, having to sneak through the Mpabanyoni River, to avoid the press, public onlookers, and local dive operators, who are now amassing at the Cutty Sark entrance, which is the ONLY legal entry and exit point for vehicles with trailers, in desperate effort to cover up what??? The truth?
The truth is, they are legally ALLOWED to kill our protectd and incredibly valuable tiger sharks in their nets in the Aliwal Shoal Marine protected area. An area in which the Tiger shark is one of 5 protected species!
We must demand answers:
I really need to point out that using internationally accepted figures for values attributed to live sharks in non consumptive tourism models, Shark board kill over a billion Rands worth of sharks annually! How can we stand for that alone, putting aside the environmental disaster they are causing?
It is estimated that each live shark is worth US$ 200k in viewing value alive. This means that Sharksboard’s little killing spree today, just cost the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected area at least US$1 000 000 .00 (R8 million). That is, if we are to believe Sharks boards claim that they only killed 5 tigers. But seeing as we don’t believe them, we can more accurately put their killing spree at a cost of about US$ 2 800 000.00 (R 23 million). 14 tigers is the more likely loss, as we can sadly say that once an animal has been that stressed in a net, it’s chance of survival is zero.
Why all the lies when they are allowed to kill any animals that end up in these despicable killing fields names the Shark Board gill nets?
Because even though it may be legal, they know it is wrong.
Enough is enough now. We are not going to sit back and accept that the government has given one of it’s own institutions an exemption to continue to operate their gill netting licence in the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected area. This area has been declared an area within which tiger sharks are one of 5 protected species of sharks. We will stop the continued killing fields of the NSB, by ensuring that they are no longer allowed to operate within the Aliwal Shoal Marine protected area. We will absolutely ensure our area really be PROTECTED!
And we need your help. Watch this space – there is much, much more to come. Take note Sharks Board – the local and world community of those who adore our planet and the healthy oceans - is coming for you.
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