KwaZulu-Natal is known for its warm, temperate waters, and although this makes for perfect swimming, it also attracts sharks. Nearly all beaches in the province are protected by shark nets but due to recent wage disputes in the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, all shark nets have been lifted.
Most sharks nets are deployed by the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Sharks Board, and are 214 meters long and 6 meters deep. Each net is secured by two 35 kilogram anchors, and is laid in two parallel rows approximately 400 meters offshore.
Shark nets being lifted in the province has had many concerned about the danger this holds for beachgoers. Effectively, this means that all those who venture into the waters there will do so at their own risk.
Speaking to The Citizen, City of uMhlathuze Chief Sport and Recreation Officer, Shakes Hiraman, confirmed that the nets were lifted on Wednesday morning. He did not speculate on how long it would take to resolve the wage dispute.
As the shark nets have been lifted, solid red flags are flying at all KZN beaches. Red flags indicate that no swimming may take place or that a particular beach is closed to swimming.
A shark net debate has broken out over shark nets on Newark Beach in Richards Bay – the shark nets in this area are responsible for the most humpback dolphin deaths nation wide. These nets sometimes cause death in other marine life as well, including turtles and sharks.