To be honest, I had never even heard of a whelk net and even though I had seen the buoys which are only a few hundred metres from the beach I just thought they had something to do with the exclusion nets that they want to put up in Fish Hoek.
Fishing for whelks ( sea snails) with whelk pots, is a lot like fishing for lobsters or crayfish. You have a basket cage with chum in it ( mashed fish etc), and it works as an attractant to catch the whelks. The big problem is that it attracts not only whelks but sharks too. In this case the great white shark was so attracted to it that it swallowed the entire pot. Shark spotters have reported an increase in sightings in Fish Hoek and the beach has been closed on several occasions since the experimental farm has been placed in the bay.
But it once again raises the issue about these exclusion nets they want to put up in fish hoek…no environmental impact…Ja right!
Also, with the shark season being opened and the operators returning to do great white trips at Seal Island, the last think we want is a shark coming into the bay, due to being attracted by the whelk pots and a shark attack occurring. People will start finger wagging and we will be dragged into the mess and even though Seal Island is 20 minutes away from Fish Hoek, we will be also blamed.
A 4.3m white shark is a big shark and we don’t often see sharks over 4m any more. It takes around 15 years to reach that size and it is now dead. There are only a few thousand white sharks left in the world and so one dead has an impact.
What a loss to the shark population!