Personal tools
You are here: Home eNewsletter Archives 2014 august2014 SAEON in bed with the sharks

SAEON in bed with the sharks

0701.jpg

SAEON and SAIAB will assist the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board in understanding the movement and residency patterns of potentially dangerous sharks along the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal between Richards Bay and Port Edward

By Dr Tommy Bornman, Manager, SAEON Elwandle Node

On 25 July 2014, SAEON and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB) Maritime Centre of Excellence.

SAEON and SAIAB, both facilities of the National Research Foundation (NRF), will assist KZNSB in understanding the movement and residency patterns of potentially dangerous sharks along the coastline of KwaZulu-Natal between Richards Bay and Port Edward.

Minimising the risk of shark attacks

At the signing, the MEC for Economic Development, Michael Mabuyakhulu, said it was of particular interest how the movement patterns of sharks are related to environmental parameters such as water temperature.

“This information is crucial not only in minimising the risk of shark attacks at netted and non-netted beaches, but also in enabling the board to make informed decisions on the deployment and location of shark nets to reduce the catch of harmless animals,” Mabuyakhulu noted.

This will be done through the provision of a network of acoustic listening stations as part of SAIAB’s National Acoustic Tracking Array Platform and underwater temperature loggers as part of SAEON’s South African National Coastal Temperature Network.

The tags emit a unique code signal, which can be detected by the listening stations up to one kilometre away. Data downloaded from stations can then be used to build a picture of when and where sharks are occurring.

The MoU will provide an ideal platform for the sharing of resources that includes equipment, data, laboratory space and human resources (scientists, technicians and students). Although the signing of the MoU formalised the partnership that already existed between SAEON, SAIAB and the KZNSB, this spells a new chapter in collaborative marine research in KwaZulu-Natal.

0702.jpg

Signing ceremony at the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Maritime Centre of Excellence in Durban. Back row, from left: Johan Pauw (MD, SAEON), Michael Mabuyakhulu (MEC, Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs), Sipho Mkhize (Chairperson of the KZNSB Board), Skhumbuzo Mpanza (KZNSB Board member).  Front row, from left: Dr Tommy Bornman (Manager, SAEON Elwandle Coastal Node), Mthokozisi Radebe (CEO, KZNSB Maritime Centre of Excellence) and Dr Angus Paterson (MD, SAIAB)

Document Actions