KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs on preventing shark attacks

KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board continues its world-renowned reputation in preventing shark attacks

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Boards, an entity of the provincial department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea), continued its world-renowned reputation in shark attack mitigation with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between KwaZulu-Natal and Reunion in Tshwane.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Edtea Mr Sihle Zikalala and his Reunion counterpart, Sub-Prefect of Saint-Paul Mr Olivier Tainturier, have signed the ground-breaking MOU in a move that will see KZN Sharks Board assisting Reunion amid a spike in shark attacks in the Indian Ocean country.

The KZN Sharks Board, a 55-year-old government entity and the only one of its kind in the world, has developed an international reputation in the field of shark attack mitigation and as a result the organisation’s staffs have been widely consulted in dealing with such issues in other parts of the world.

The island of Reunion, an overseas French department located in the southwest Indian Ocean Island, is well known for its volcanic, rain-forested interior, coral reefs and beaches. These features have culminated in the island becoming an extremely popular tourist destination.

Since 2010, the Reunion has experienced an outbreak of shark attacks, which resulted in swimming and surfing being banned at many beaches along the west coast of the island.

In 2017 the Centre de ressources et d’appui sur le risque requin (CRA), which Tainturier leads, was formed to address the risk of shark attack on the island.

Mr Zikalala further said KZN Sharks Board would now move beyond preventing shark attacks, but to expand its mandate to include marine research and maritime skills development which will see the organisation contributing immensely to job creation, economic development and radical economic transformation in the Province.

‘We are working together with other state entities like SANDF which has shown interest to work with us in the field of maritime safety. We develop skills, research output and investment in this field,’ said Mr Zikalala.

Tainturier said there has been an increase in shark attack in the Reunion.

‘I am pleased to sign this contract with the Sharks Board,’ he said.

Sharks Board CEO Mthoko Hadebe who was present during the signing ceremony said the entity has assisted many countries and organisations in the mitigation of shark attacks.

He said bull sharks, known locally as Zambezi sharks, have been the problem species in both the KZN coastline and the Reunion.

Source: Government of South Africa