Subject: Shark:Bathers beat shark to death in (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 8 Jan 1998 10:21:38 -0500 (EST)


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Date: Thu,  8 Jan 98 13:06:00 GMT 
Subject: Bathers beat shark to death in

Bathers beat shark to death in South Africa

    CAPE TOWN, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Bathers attacked and killed a
great white shark floundering off a South African beach over the
New Year holiday, conservation officials said on Tuesday.
     "It's an offence to harass a great white shark," said
Clare Ward, spokeswoman for the state sea fisheries department.
     She said researchers believed the shark, measuring 4.4
metres (14 feet), had been struggling in the shallows off a Cape
Town beach last week because it was weakened by disease or
     "Apparently it was killed in the water, then pulled up on
to the beach," Ward said. "It was butchered to such an extent
that there was not enough material left for an autopsy."
     The great white, the species responsible for most shark
attacks on humans, is protected in South African waters because
its numbers are dwindling.
     Newspapers published photographs of the dead shark lying on
the beach surrounded by a crowd of smiling men, women and
children, some armed with steel rods and police-style batons.
     Days before the shark was killed, a diver disappeared while
spearfishing in the vicinity. His body was never found but
police said he was probably killed by a shark.
     Nan Rice, a leading South African marine conservationist who
initiated legal protection for the great white, told Reuters she
was shocked by the killing of the shark.
     "That film 'Jaws' was a character assassination of sharks.
We need them just as much as we need whales and dolphins," she
     "They do so much good in the marine environment by keeping
the numbers of seals in check. You need your predators."
     Rice said no one should be surprised if divers or swimmers
were attacked by sharks. "Humans are invading the territory of
marine life. They can't expect to get away scot-free."