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Cape Town community wants shark spotters

By Sapa | Apr 25, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

KOGEL Bay surfers and bodyboarders in Cape Town have voted in favour of a shark-spotting programme after a man was killed there last week, Shark Spotters said

"We had a meeting last night to see if they wanted a programme there and they came back with a resounding yes," project manager Sarah Titley said.

"I will now report back to the City of Cape Town by next week about the logistic and budget requirements."

About 80 people, many Boland Surfing Association members, attended the meeting on Monday evening following the death of David Lilienfeld, 20, last Thursday.

Lilienfeld, an SA bodyboarding team member, was at a popular surfing area, Caves, in Kogel Bay with his brother about noon when a great white shark attacked him.

The shark made three passes at him and bit his right leg on the third pass. He died in the water from a loss of blood and his body washed up on the shore.

With no shark-spotting programme in place, many felt it was too risky to enter the water.

Those in attendance indicated their willingness to assist such a programme, with many suggesting a levy be added onto membership fees of surfing or bodyboarding clubs. People were also receptive to the idea of monthly debit orders to contribute to the cost.

Offers had been made to supply a hut and flag-pole for the shark spotter. The programme already in place for six beaches was costing more than a R1-million a year, with funding coming largely from the city and donations.

Four permanent programmes were in operation at Muizenberg, St James-Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Noordhoek.

Between October and April, shark spotters operated at Clovelly and Glencairn beaches at weekends and during public and school holidays.

If the project went ahead, a permanent spotter would be placed on a mountain at Caves between 8am and 6pm for a year.

When the year had passed, a team would assess the necessity of having a spotter in winter.

Titley said it was made clear that it would take time to train spotters and therefore the programme could not be implemented immediately if it was approved.

In the meantime, some surfers planned to take notes on how spotters operated so that they could implement a rudimentary system. - Sapa

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