National Geographic : 1968 Feb
Sharks: Wolves of the Sea 1965, when a surfer suffered a minor bite on one thigh. Attacks on surfers, incidentally, appear to be on the increase. "Because a shark can swim over or past a net, it was a mystery at first how meshing pro tected bathers," said Beulah Davis of Natal Province's Anti-Shark Measures Board. "One reason may be that our sharks mostly belong to a local, nonmigratory population, and the nets caught just about all of them." Sharks off Hawaiian beaches also appear to be nonmigratory. Last year, under Dr. Test er's direction, the 50th state opened a three year campaign to eradicate them so far as possible, using set lines with hooks at 60-foot intervals. One of the first results was a notice able decrease in a concentration of large tigers off Honolulu harbor. Some 40 miles north of Durban, the golden sands of Zinkwazi Beach used to be lone ly, unused because sharks swarmed in the creaming surf. Now they are meshed, and holiday-seekers come in increasing numbers. Len Flowers, a professional fisherman, tends the nets. I went with Len to overhaul them. They held only a small cow-nosed ray. "I don't believe you have sharks around," I remarked. "No?" said Len. "Hang on." With that he headed the boat seaward. Choosing a spot over a reef a mile offshore, he dropped the anchor, and we began fishing. Immediately we caught several five-pound Cape salmon, or geelbek. We stunned them and tossed them overboard. Within seconds the sea boiled with sharks, some six feet and more long. "Here are our friends," said Len. "We'll be lucky now to catch a single whole salmon." We scarcely had a chance to try before the ravenous sharks began banging against the boat. Fear gripped me. Even Len confessed to some nervousness. To get through the surf without swamping, the boat had been decked over. We sat on it, not in it. Handholds were few. The sea that day was high. An eight-foot shark struck at the outboard propeller, although we had taken the precaution of tilting the motor to bring the propeller out of water. GREENBERG(c) N.G.S.