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During periods of intense whale activity, the two shark nets at Zinkwazi and one at Blythedale will be removed and replaced with additional drumlines as a temporary measure for the next month.
According to the KZN Sharks Board, there has been a substantial increase in the number of humpback mother and calf pairs visiting the Zinkwazi and Blythedale area this season, and entanglement in the shark safety gear has become a major concern.
“It appears that the whales choose to travel at different distances offshore each year and also favour different bays to rest in with their newborn calves,” said head of operations Mike Anderson-Reade.
“This is possibly associated with water clarity, swell size and nearshore currents.”
The KZN Sharks Board and the Kwadukuza Municipality share concerns of an entanglement in the shark safety gear and in an attempt to find a solution to this they have agreed on a way forward for the next month or so.
“After examining 10 years of shark capture data for these two beaches, we are confident that this short-term variation to the gear will not lead to any increase in risk for bathers.
“Drumlines match the catch statistics of nets in terms of the capture of both the great white and tiger shark.
“Bull sharks, the other species of concern are predominantly a summer species and captures of these during September and October are very low.”
Most of these whales will leave the KZN coast by the end of October or early November for the summer feeding grounds in the Antarctic.
“This approach may be considered during peak whale season at other protected beaches along the KZN coast in the years ahead,” Anderson-Reade said, expressed his gratitude to the Kwadukuza Municipality for their understanding and cooperation in dealing with this issue.