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In celebration of World Oceans Day yesterday, Shark Attack reached out to members of the public to get their views on the “bather safety nets” – aka shark nets – in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. There are currently 37 beaches along the KZN coastline that have “shark safety” gear installed.

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This shark safety gear is in the form of either gill nets or drumlines.

The gill nets are usually 214m long and 6m deep and secured at each end by two 35 kg anchors. These nets are laid parallel and staggered 400m – 500m offshore and in water depths of 10-14m. They all have a stretched mesh of 51cm which catches any sharks (and other animals such as turtles, rays and dolphins) larger than this size.

Gill nets are commonly used as a fishing method, and work by trapping fish and sharks by their gills once they have pushed their heads through the mesh. Most of the animals caught in these nets, die.

These nets do not form a complete barrier and sharks can swim around them – so in essence they function as a targeted fishery and target sharks. The logic behind them is essentially to reduce the number of large sharks in the vicinity of certain beaches, lowering the probability of encounters between sharks and people.

Not only do sharks get caught in these nets and drumlines – they are known to also entangle both non-targeted shark species and other species.

For example in 2017, the protected animals that died in the nets included 18 turtles, 26 dolphins, 4 whales, 30 rays and 69 scalloped hammerhead sharks.

Watch World Oceans Day – Message on Shark Nets:

World Oceans Day – Message on Shark Nets

Happy World Oceans Day!To mark this day, we reached out to members of the public to get their views on the "bather safety nets" (shark nets) in Kwa-Zulu Natal.A massive THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the powerful message, and to the team who tied it all together.Watch the clip to hear what they had to say.#WorldOceansDayWildoceanssa Shark Conservation Fund Ocean Unite TRAFFIC – the wildlife trade monitoring network #seathebiggerpicture South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Makhanda, Eastern Cape Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries Love Africa Marketing Wavescape Getaway Magazine

Posted by Shark Attack on Monday, June 8, 2020

According to many locals, there’s no need for the shark nets, and where the nets have been removed there have been no attacks. Most beaches around the world do not have nets.

Find out more from Shark Attack here