Why the Natal Sharks Board lies all the time

Why the Natal Sharks Board lies all the time

Photo courtesy Captain Duarte Rato

With ackowlegements and thanks to Independent Online (IOL) and RemoveTheNets.com

Whilst never having ever gotten on with the Natal Sharks Board over the years, I have tried to work with them for years, insistently proposing any other shark deterrent, barrier system or monitoring system, to replace the unrelenting nets and drum lines. I was snowballed, cajoled, lied to, and eventually, and to this day, completely ignored.

The truth is that the Natal Sharks Board, now spends well over the R40 000 000 per year it was on in 2011, and has to lie, to protect it’s false public profile, so that it can continue to exist; fear-mongering, killing sharks, and paying the salaries of those who commit the murderous acts. 2012 hit R60 million. They are almost double that now.

The government gives the KZNSB about half of its budget. A heap of cash to facilitate the capital replacement, operating and maintenance costs. The rest is raised by charging municipalities for the nets, selling curios and doing dissections (schoolkids are bussed in for their indoctrination) at the huge KZNSB operation in Umhlanga Rocks, just north of Durban.

Whilst I am not an expert on the KZNSB and their goings on, I did come across an amazing website the tells all the truths about the KZNSB lies. It is at http://removethenets.com and is a solid base of pertinent information concerning its operation.

The following excerpt should get you in the mood to click through to them, and sign up on their petition list.

“The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board has been created as a public service – with the sole intent to reduce shark attacks. Thus, the consideration it is a commercial shark fishery is quite contradictory due to its primary objectives and the fact it is funded almost entirely by taxpayer dollars.

But there is no denying the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board’s methods – which are indeed fishery related. However, KZNSB maintains much freedom and escapes environmental accountability as well, falling under the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism rather than the Department of Agriculture and Environment Affairs.

Perhaps this is why KZNSB targets shark species no other legal commercial fisheries are able to target. Additionally, many special exceptions are made for Sharks Board – including their ability to kill protected species and also to fish in marine protected areas.

KZNSB is the only fishery that has a permit to legally kill the only shark species protected throughout all of South Africa by the South African government – and a species protected worldwide. White Shark populations around the world are plummeting, and in that time, the nets and drum lines have been responsible for the death of over 1,060 of these endangered and protected animals. “

Whilst that excerpt is nicely scientific, a gut-wrenching incident occurred at Scottburgh Beach, south of Durban, inspiring one of the best pieces of journalism I have encountered.

Written by Gail Addison, a Shark Angel – an organisation of volunteers who have tasked themselves with the protection of sharks, it describes the tragic killing (murder) of 14 tiger sharks in the nets on the KZN South Coast, near Scottburgh.

“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 Sharks Board 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…”

And now as if this is not entirely enough, the next story will absolutely blow your minds. Did you know? That the KZNSB have been considering taking their catch to market?! Yep, they actually, as adults, sat around a table, and considered selling shark meat on the open market.

Read the excerpt that follows, or click the link here to get the entire piece, from Independent Online (who are doing a great job keeping tabs on the KZNSB…

“Sharks Board statistics suggest that about 500 sharks are killed in the KZN bather protection nets every year, including about 22 great whites as well as 50 ragged-tooth, 30 tiger, 12 Zambezi, 115 dusky, 70 blacktip and more than 150 hammerhead sharks.

Dr Alison Kock, a Cape Town marine biologist and shark expert, said last night she was reluctant to comment on Radebe’s proposal without knowing more details.

“In principle, if a shark is already dead it is preferable to maximise the value of the animal rather than dumping it on a rubbish heap. So, if it can be used, perhaps it is something you would consider – provided it does not create a perverse incentive to catch more sharks to raise revenue.”

Overall, she stressed that shark species across the world were being fished out faster than they could reproduce.”

So, there we have it. A rogue government organisation with a huge budget, intent on destroying the very resource, that tourism exists on. The shark nets have got to go, the drumlines too. We do not need to be killing sharks every day and night non-stop.

We should be spending that money on protecting the sharks, not killing them. Shark nets are only capable of reducing a localised shark population and marine wildlife, or killing sharks that wonder the oceans freely.

Like the Great White they killed at Sunwich Port, a while back. It had a satellite tag in it?! It was part of the O-Search Shark Tagging and Tracking programme. Check it out here. There may be a Great White near you. Maybe soon enough they will have tagged all of the whites in existence so we can just check the app on our waterproof phones, and see one coming!

Dreams are free, but sharks aren’t. The KZNSB has got go. All that money, all those resources. Wasted on killing sharks.

Ok ok, one more…this is from Lesley Rochet, Hooked on conservation, regards drumlines. Very thorough and informative.


And to close off with a big surprise…of all people, our president, Mr. Zuma has ordered an enquiry into the KZNSB operation?! We have a knight in a shining shower! Either that or he needs the money for phase 2 of his Nkandla upgrade?

So maybe it’s gonna be the end of the incessant KZNSB barrage of lies? Or the end of the KZNSB. Zuma, this is your chance pal! Good for something?

Check it out on IOL right here!

Look out for a call to action, coming soon, right here on thesardine.co.za, in the meantime, let’s sign some petitions…click here

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