Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mossel Bay Shark Death - New Twist

It would seem there's a new twist in the widely reported story of a "Monster Shark" that was accidentally caught in Mossel Bay, South Africa.

Turns out the shark was caught some 1600 kilometers away from the Mossel Bay location and "trucked in" for a film crews shoot, contrary to multiple mainstream news reports and emails floating around the Internet.

Thanks to writer Martin Hatchuel who wrote us this week to offer the straight story. Martin is a travel writer for Mossel Bay tourism.

Media Release. Immediate. 28 October 2009.

Scientist Dissects KwaZulu-NatalShark in Mossel Bay.

Mossel Bay’s Oceans Research Laboratory last week dissected a massive great white shark which had been trucked into the town from KwaZulu-Natal, where it had drowned after being caught in shark nets.The animal was supplied by the Natal Sharks Board.

“The rumour mill has been working overtime, but the truth is that the shark was brought here so that the dissection could be filmed for a National Geographic television programme called ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’,” said Mossel Bay Tourism’s Marcia Holm.“The series will be shown on both National Geographic and on ’s Channel 4, and features experts from all over the world who trace each animal’s evolutionary history by exploring its internal anatomy.”

According to David Dugan, chairman of Windfall Films, the producers of the series, “When the [first part of] the series aired in the UK, it received universal acclaim in the press and it is now being nominated for many major awards.“A team of researchers and production personnel flew in from New York, London,Durban and to assist scientist Enrico Gennnari, who performed the dissection as part of the requirements for his PhD degree,” said Ms. Holm.

“There are people who want to be frightened by this poor creature, but it really is worth remembering that he was dead by the time he arrived in Mossel Bay,” she said.Mossel Bay has featured in a previous National Geographic production - called ‘Sharkville’ - which showed how, in fact, man and the sharks really do live side by side.“If anything, we’re more of a threat to them than they are to us.”

Ms. Holm said that the risk of shark attack remained low, and that swimmers, surfers and other recreational users of the oceans could mitigate this even further by looking out for - and avoiding - unusually high concentrations of sea birds and fish in the areas in which they were swimming.

“We don’t catch great whites in Mossel Bay as they are protected by the law,” she said.

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