Weziwe Thusi, MEC for Arts, Culture and Tourism
Professor Bonke Dumisa, KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Chairman
(With a copy to the local KZN mayors in municipalities with shark net installations)
Regarding: The installation of Shark Nets in KwaZulu-Natal
Dear Mrs. Thusi and Professor Dumisa,
We are writing to you to express our grave concern over KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board’s shark meshing program. It is especially disturbing in this day and age, with all we know about sharks – including their dwindling numbers, their critical role in our ecosystem, and the small risk they pose to us.
The destructive practice of killing sharks, and all else that come in contact with the indiscriminate nets, including dolphins, rays, and turtles, is an unnecessary and outdated practice that requires immediate examination as well as a short-term plan for termination. Consistent with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Act of 2008, we insist the Sharks Board commit their primary efforts to improving the environmental impact of their activities; the nets are no longer an acceptable option. We believe through a public awareness and education campaign combined with new environmentally friendly shark management approaches, as those in the Western Cape have proven, all can peacefully coexist in the oceans.
Not only do the nets pose considerable environmental issues, but they also pose economic issues as live sharks are worth more than dead ones in tourism dollars and the existence of the nets is tarnishing South Africa’s worldwide image as a leader in conservation and shark protection.
We understand the value of live animals – including sharks – to the health of our environment, South Africa’s economics, and the world’s ecosystems, and we believe these rewards far outweigh the risks. And thus, we support the removal of the nets. This is an issue that rests in the hands of the public – and we rightfully should be given a chance to make our own educated decisions.