Surfers and swimmers in Fish Hoek will feel a little safer from now on, with the permanent deployment of shark exclusion nets this month until May next year.
The locally produced nets, which have been tested at the beach between March 2013 and May this year, have proved ‘successful beyond all initial expectations’, according to the City of Cape Town.
During the trial period official shark spotters in the area sighted 38 great whites on 22 separate days, but none entered the exclusion zone when the nets were deployed. Bronze whalers, hammerheads and rays were also spotted and excluded.
The nets were deployed 140 times during the trial period, at a cost of R1 200 per use.
Shark nets are often a controversial issue due to their potential to be harmful to marine life. However, this particular net, a finalist at Enviropaedia’s Eco-Innovation Awards, resulted in hardly any entanglement of birds and other fish. Furthermore, it created nine job opportunities.
Amy Davidson of the city’s environment and planning directorate says, ‘Overall, the results of the trial indicate that the exclusion net is a cost-effective, non-lethal shark safety measure with minimal impact on marine life.’