Picture: Gcina Ndwalane
Durban - Sightings of sharks may be more prevalent now that the sardine run is fast approaching Durban’s coastline.

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board has warned bathers to be on alert as shark activity will be on the increase.

KZN Sharks Board spokesperson Harry Mbambo said although “little, harmless” sharks have posed no severe threat to bathers and fishermen so far, “people still need to be on alert as they are still sharks”.

“There have been no incidents but still people need to be cautious. There will be a lot of shark activity now. But no matter how small the shark is, it could still be dangerous,” he said.

Three fishermen - Quinton, Quade and Tevin Boullineau - said they caught four small sharks while fishing from the Sunkist Pier last week.

Quinton Boullineau said that his brother was the first to catch a shark and while they attempted to assist him, two other sharks were caught on their fishing line.

“We were shocked to see they were sharks. They were little and we threw them back into the sea immediately,” he said.

Boullineau said he was concerned that the sharks would pose a threat to swimmers and surfers.

Mbambo added that since some of the shark nets had been replaced with drum lines, smaller sharks could make their way over or under the lines.

While nets had been effective in reducing the risk of shark attacks, they also caught some shark species that posed no threat, as well as dolphins, whales, rays and turtles.

In 2007, the board replaced nearly half of the existing shark nets with drum lines at 20 protected beaches between Hibberdene and Port Edward in the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality (Hibiscus Coast) and more recently at all five protected beaches between Zinkwazi and Ballito.

In March, the drum lines were installed between Westbrook and Umgababa.

The board said drum lines were one way of reducing catches without compromising bathers’ safety. A drum line consists of a single large baited hook suspended from an anchored float.

The Mercury