Ocearch permits update, white sharks, research
4 May 2012
The permits issued to Chris Fisher and various scientists for research on Great White Sharks were suspended on 19 April 2012 following news of the fatal shark attack on body-boarder David Lilienfeld. This was done in order to ensure that further activities were not undertaken whilst the Department examined the situation, in particular whether there was any link between the incident and the Ocearch research activities.
No evidence was found to support a link and these results were made public a few days after the event. Over the following 10 days further information, including that of the movements of the tagged animals strengthened this position.
In the interim the Department had met with the permit holders to hear their position with respect to continuing their research. A strong case was put forward regarding the benefits of this work, not only for understanding and conserving sharks better, but also for in future being able to provide for public safety e.g. close to real time advice on risk areas for potential shark attacks.
Therefore the Department decided to lift the suspension and issue new permits but with refined conditions. Such permits have now been issued enabling the work to continue from Gansbaai eastwards from today, and in the White Shark Cage Diving area in False Bay from 14 May.
The overall activity is also limited to the deployment of a maximum of 6 satellite tags in each area (a maximum of 12 in total). The new research permits will only be valid until these tags have been deployed or until the 31 May 2012, whichever occurs first.
Cell: 021 819 2447/2423
Cell: 082 898 6483
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
4 May 2012
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