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WCape to hold shark hearing

The Western Cape legislature will host a great white shark hearing next week to discuss the creature's future and protection, two standing committees said on Friday.

The cultural affairs and sports committee and the agriculture and environmental planning committee said they would host the preliminary hearing in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon.

Cape Town would continue funding the Shark Spotters programme for the next three years, the city said. Photo: Michael Walker. Credit: Independent Newspapers

The public was invited to listen to the departments and other organisations discuss the sharks' protection, who could interact with them, under what conditions, and how this would be monitored.

The ultimate goal was “to ensure that neither the sharks nor public safety is put in jeopardy”.

The committees would then decide if the matter merited further investigation.

Sharks have been in the spotlight following research permits being issued to National Geographic film-maker Chris Fischer and other scientists aboard his vessel, the Ocearch.

The team attracted sharks to the vessels using chum (fish bait) and then tagged them so they could be picked up by a satellite.

Some were against the research because they felt the chumming could attract sharks into False Bay and jeopardise the safety of water users.

The death of bodyboarder David Lilienfeld in Kogel Bay in April added fuel to the fire, with people linking the attack to Fischer's activities.

The City of Cape Town denied a link but the environmental affairs department suspended Fischers's permits to conduct its own investigation.

It re-instated the permits last Friday on condition the Ocearch vessel limit itself to Gansbaai and False Bay and tag six sharks at most per area.

The permits would be valid until the end of May, or when 12 sharks had been tagged. – Sapa

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