Words: Olivia Jones Communications
The Paddle Out for Sharks is excited to announce that it will continue its tradition of highlighting the plight of sharks and other marine life through its annual paddle out event, which is held to celebrate World Oceans day (8th June). This year the event will be held on Sunday June 7th in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Scottburgh Beach (KZN mid-south coast), St Michaels Beach (KZN south coast), Cottlesloe Beach and Mooloolaba in Australia, and Ponta de Ouro in Mozambique. World Oceans Day is an international event and the 2015 theme is "healthy oceans, healthy planet". The Paddle Out for Sharks team feels that it is essential that sharks are acknowledged for the role that they play in maintaining the health of our oceans. The event usually focuses on a current threat to sharks, and this year, the organizers would like to focus on shark culling in La Reunion and the persistent issue of shark nets in KwaZulu-Natal.
The distinctiveness about the event is captured in the hosting of the event simultaneously in multiple venues across South Africa, Mozambique and Australia’, commented Amanda Barratt one of the Paddle Out For Sharks Organisers. ‘Shark overfishing is an international problem and shark culling measures are in place in Australia and parts of South Africa.’
‘It is my opinion that there are simply not enough resources put in place to monitor shark fishing, and authorities are tackling shark-human interaction in a punitive fashion (towards sharks) that will eventually have destructive cumulative effects. There is sufficient scientific data to support the positive relationship between healthy oceans and healthy shark populations. We need critical mass, which we are trying to achieve by challenging our attitudes and perceptions towards the way we treat our oceans and its inhabitants,’ added Barratt.
‘We would like to gather groups of people and encourage the public to attend, so that they can get involved in addressing the problems affecting sharks,’ said Siobhan McCreesh. ‘We need to highlight how governmental policy and public inaction leads to dire circumstances’.
Organiser Cormac McCreesh said that there are many shark and marine conservation organisations who work tirelessly at campaigning for sharks but this annual event is an opportunity for the interested members of the public to be informed and to take action.
For information on the event which will be held in venues across South Africa, Mozambique and Australia please refer to: https://www.facebook.com/paddleout4sharks?fref=ts
The Paddle Out for Sharks team at Scottburgh beach will meet past back line at 08h00 on Sunday 7 June; further down the coast, the St Michaels Paddle Out for Sharks crew will meet at 07h00 on Sunday 7 June on the beach to paddle out together with top surfers such as former World Championship Tour star Heather Clark (Port Shepstone).