The controversial chumming for Great White Sharks taking place in False Bay at present has nothing to do with the National Geographic program Shark Men
An outcry has broken out in South Africa over the filming of Great White Sharks being captured, having research conducted upon them, and then being released after the procedure.
Permission has been granted by the Department of Environmental Affairs for the film makers to use 5 000 kg of chum during the 20 day period.
According to Dr Dirk Schmidt, a well respected researcher of Great White Sharks in South Africa, the entire permit application was kept very low key. “Gansbaai and False Bay operators (cage diving) were only informed on the 20th March about the application. We are still not sure what actually happened in Algoa Bay and Mossel Bay where sharks have already been caught”.
Meanwhile, National Geographic has distanced themselves entirely from the filming taking place in South Africa and have issued this statement.
Mr. Albert, Vice President of Communications for National Geographic Channel said “We have not renewed the series, have no plans to at the moment, and are not filming new episodes at this time. Therefore, the filming mentioned is not for National Geographic Channel or for future episodes of Shark Man. I am honestly not sure who the film maker is working with on new episodes”.
Alan Boyd from the department of Environmental Affairs, who issued the permit allowing the chumming to take place tried to defend his decision in an interview with Zigzag Surfing Magazine but admitted that no public participation took place prior to granting the permit.
“A general communication was issued to affected stakeholders such as cage diving operators. There is no additional risk to the public”, says Boyd.
It is difficult to understand how Boyd can claim that there is no addional risk to the public when the jury is still out on what the impact of chumming is having on shark-human interaction.
Surely any research being conducted in South African waters should be focused on why there are more Great White Sharks being spotted inshore at previously safe swimming beaches like Fish Hoek and why there has been an increase in shark sighting in other areas like Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay.
Allowing film makers, whose motives and methods are being questions by the real experts, to chum in our waters is simply unacceptable.