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Western Cape
Apr 25 2012 9:28AM
 
Shark Spotters step in
FAREWELL: Hundreds of surfers and body boarders attended last Sunday’s memorial service on Camps Bay beach for Springbok bodyboarder David Lilienfeld who was killed by a great white shark in Kogel Bay last Thursday. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
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Steve Kretzmann

 

Following the fatal shark attack on Springbok bodyboarder David Lilienfeld last Thursday, Shark Spotters is investigating the possibility of setting up a spotting site in Kogel Bay.

The Shark Spotters programme, an independent non-profit venture, presently operates shark spotting posts on six Cape Town beaches, five of them in False Bay from Muizenberg to Glencairn, and one at Noordhoek on the Atlantic side.

However, the eastern side of False Bay, where Kogel Bay is located has not been covered by Shark Spotters.

Shark Spotters spokesperson Sarah Titley said a meeting was held between Shark Spotters management and various Boland surfing associations on Monday to investigate the possibility of setting up a spotting site at Kogel Bay.

The City of Cape Town has stated that shark sightings at Kogel Bay are common and surfers say they have often been "buzzed" by sharks in the area.

However, attacks are rare. Other than the attack on Lilienfeld, the last recorded attack was in 1999 when surfer Sergio Capri survived a bite to his thigh.

Constraints to setting up a spotting site at Kogel Bay have been that it is far from the urban centre and public transport for spotters is lacking. But Titley said the organisation was keen to set up a site at Kogel Bay to prevent further attacks.

She said Shark Spotters was investigating whether spotters would be as effective there as elsewhere in False Bay where they had called people out of the water to prevent attacks on more than 700 occasions since the initiative started in 2004.

The elevation of the spotting site and water clarity in the area were considerations and extra funding was required if a Kogel Bay site was to be established as there was "not a cent to spare" in the current budget of R1.5m a year, Titley said.

She said 80% of the budget was spent on labour as Shark Spotters operated 365 days a year.

The Shark Spotters, which called surfers out of the water at Kalk Bay just yesterday after a shark cruised past the line up, received 70% of its money from the City of Cape Town and 20% from the Save our Seas Foundation.

Fundraising events such as the annual Wavescape surfboard art auction accounted for the remaining 10%. Chairperson of the Boland Surfing Association, Rodney Bester, said there was "fantastic" support from Boland and Western Province surfers for the establishment of a Shark Spotters site at Koel Bay.

He said the logistics were "a bit of a problem" but Titley was drafting a proposal for the City of Cape Town to consider. "Our guys are keen, they even agreed to pay a monthly subscription fee," Bester said.

However, he warned that there was also an urgent need for a shark spotting site at Strand, where the younger surfers enjoyed the sport. – WCN

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