Natal Sharks Board - Promoting Awareness
Situated in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu Natal, is the head office to the Natal Sharks Board. The Natal Sharks Board is open to visitors, as they welcome the opportunity to promote shark awareness to local and international tourists. The Natal Sharks Board offers a look into the world, importance and life of a shark through a three screen multimedia program that has surround sound to increase the sound effects of this educational and entertaining show. If you do not have a weak stomach, then the following part of your visit will be to watch, and smell, the dissection of a shark. This is a unique and rare look into the inner working of a predator that has captured our imagination for centuries. The display hall is an array of various shark species, rays and fish replicas that include an 892kg great white shark. The curio shop offers memorabilia to remember this extraordinary visit by.
The shark nets along the KwaZulu Natal Coastline cover a 350km stretch, with 27.5 kilometers being placed at intervals to protect 38 localities against shark attacks. The nets are serviced 20 times a month by means of meshing. Meshing is the procedure where each net is pulled from the water to inspect any damage or trapped animals. It is very rare that sharks are captured in these nets. Live animals are released back into the ocean, and intact dead animals are returned to shore for research. The Sharks Board employs 170 staff members to keep up with the maintaining of shark nets, administration and other related duties. Their 15 boats are often seen launching before sunrise, challenging the rough seas, to complete this extremely important service.
Shark conservation is a very important aspect to the Natal Sharks Board, as the number of shark catches has increased dramatically over the last few years. All though the 1990 estimate of 1.3 million tons, is small compared to the global fish trade, there is growing concern that some shark species won’t be able to sustain the high number of catches, and if the number of these species start to dwindle, we may be standing on the doorstep of extinction for these great ocean predators.