12/24/2002 Craig Bovin (South Africa)

Shark Attack Survivors News Archive for Shark Attacks in 2002.

12/24/2002 Craig Bovin (South Africa)

Postby Guest » Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:38 am

12/24/2002 Craig Bovin 25 Forearms lacerated
Scarborough Western Cape Province
South Africa Snorkeling 12:00:00 PM
4m shark, possibly a cow shark

Postby sharkbait » Wed Aug 31, 2005 8:53 am

Shark victims seek cage-dive ban
From Jonathan Clayton in Gansbaai
The rise in shark attacks in South Africa is blamed on a controversial extreme sport

IT MAY not be everybody’s idea of fun, but the chance of lingering in a reinforced steel cage in front of a great white shark has thousands of British tourists reaching for their travellers cheques. Their thirst for underwater adventure has also set off a debate worthy of the bloodiest feeding frenzy.

With more shark attacks reported in South Africa this year than for a decade, scientists, marine environmentalists, conservationists and tour operators are locked in fierce argument over accusations that the booming shark-cage-diving industry is to blame.

“We don’t know enough about the risks. Until we do, we should stop it,” Craig Bovim, a marine engineer, said. He wants to see an end to shark-cage diving and particularly “chumming” — placing a noxious mix of blood and gore in the water to lure the predators to the cage.

Mr Bovim, 38, a lifelong surfer who survived a shark attack three years ago, has set up Shark Concern Group, which lobbies for an end to the new craze, already outlawed in Californian waters. He has received support from some of the country’s top sportsmen and scientists, including an eminent surgeon and award-winning Olympic yachtsman.

Mr Bovim also wants to seeks the proper enforcement of a code of conduct that forbids touching of the animal, particularly its highly sensitive snout.

“Baiting of leopards and lions is no longer allowed. We should not do it to sharks. They are magnificent animals as it is,” he told The Times, saying that he feared that the activity was creating a familiarity between two species historically deeply suspicious of each other — with fatal results.

Others, fearing a public backlash against one of nature’s most frightening predators, say that the great white is deeply misunderstood and a victim of irrational human fears.

“I’m dead certain shark tourism and cage-watching has had no effect on a shark’s behaviour towards humans,” Wilfred Chivell, a leading marine environmentalist, said. He runs whale and shark-watching businesses out of Gansbaai, the country’s undisputed shark-watching capital.

He said: “If the great white wanted to feed off humans, then there would be carnage in our waters. Compare the figures on water usage — how many people in the water — to the number of attacks. The accusations just do not measure up. They just feed the human primeval fear of sharks as an apex predator.”

The controversial debate has been given a further twist by ITV’s decision to film its latest television reality show in Shark Alley, a 60-mile stretch off Gansbaai, south of Cape Town.

Celebrity Shark Bait, which is presented by Ruby Wax and has just finished filming, involves the actor Richard Grant and the former athlete Colin Jackson being lowered in a cage to come face to face with a great white.

Environmentalists who have seen the early footage accuse ITV of frequently baiting the sharks and exploiting the animals for the sake of the ratings.

The truth about attacks is as murky as the cold Atlantic waters of Shark Alley. A few facts are indisputable. As shark-cage diving has increased, so has the number of reported incidents. After almost two decades with virtually no shark attacks, five — two fatal — have been reported in South Africa this year. Last year there were at least two serious attacks and several minor ones.

Meanwhile, in Australia, where shark caging is also popular, a teenager was bitten in two as he lay on a surfboard off Adelaide last December; in the same week a spear fisherman lost his life on the Great Barrier Reef in a shark attack.

Thousands of tourists, many British, now take part in shark-cage diving, an activity almost unknown as recently as five years ago. Chumming attracts the shark to the boat, where it is then enticed with the liver of a dead fish. Pursuing such delicacies, the shark swims past the cage so the tourists can take their pictures.

Opponents say that the shark often catches the bait, something it is never meant to do. In addition, the more unscrupulous operators touch the shark on its highly sensitive nose, leading it to open its mouth and display its terrifying array of teeth. Mr Bovim said: “This is all done against the code of conduct and for the sake of better pictures. We don’t know what effect it is having.”

Cage-diving defenders counter that the sharks in Western Cape waters are transient and not exposed to chumming and baiting frequently enough to condition behaviour patterns.

No one, however, is prepared to step outside the cage.


August 24, 2005 Marine biologist, 23, killed by a shark off Glenelg Beach, near Adelaide, Australia

March 2005 Geoffrey Brazier, 26, a charter-boat skipper, killed while snorkelling off the Abrolhos Islands, north of Perth

December 2004 Mark Thompson, 38, spear fisherman, killed near Cairns, Australia

December 2004 Nick Petersen, 18, a surfer, killed by two sharks off Adelaide

November 2004 Tyna Webb, 77, killed when swimming near Fish Hoek, South Africa

August 2004 Diver, 50, killed near San Francisco
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Postby sharkbait » Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:04 pm

Shark attack victim doing well in hospital
Daily Dispatch 12/28/02
CAPE TOWN -- Shark attack victim Craig Bovim is recovering well in hospital after being mauled by a ragged tooth shark off Scarborough beach on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the Vincent Pallotti hospital in Pinelands, Estelle Jordaan, said yesterday doctors were optimistic that Bovim, 35, who underwent a four-hour operation, would not lose the use of his arms.
She said he would be back in theatre later yesterday where doctors would re-examine his wounds. He was likely to remain in hospital for the next few days.
Bovim, who has been surfing and diving for crayfish at Scarborough for 17 years, told a local newspaper that he had spotted a ragged tooth shark swimming very close to him and had decided to try to swim away very slowly.
The shark followed him for about five minutes.
A wave then surprised him and filled his snorkel. His head jerked up and that was when the shark attacked.
He tried to push the shark away and at one point his arm went down the shark's throat.
He managed to swim back to the beach and was airlifted to Vincent Pallotti. -- Sapa

http://www.dispatch.co.za/2002/12/28/so ... /shark.htm
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Re: 12/24/2002 Craig Bovin (South Africa)

Postby alb » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:29 am

So who's the shark?
Oct 3, 2010 12:00 AM | By Tiara Walters
A shark activist believes cage-diving is changing the way great whites view humans - and that the consequences could be dire

MISUNDERSTOOD: Tourists should be encouraged to watch sharks prey on seals rather than take part in cage-diving, argues a conservationist

They're going to associate you with food

Don't expect directions or an appointment time when you visit anyone in Scarborough, the southernmost settlement on the west coast of Africa. That's so GP.

"Look 4 a strange house full of strange-looking people with a weird dog. Any time's fine if not at home ona beach," is pretty much all Craig Bovim, a contracting engineer and anti-shark-cage-diving activist, sent me by way of directions before our interview.

On Christmas eve of 2002, however, the peace that normally permeates this Cape Peninsula surfers' village ruptured into a rumpus of chopper blades, flashing cameras and scribbling reporter pens when Bovim was savaged by a 4m great white shark while skin-diving for crayfish - just 50m off Scarborough beach. It took two years of reconstructive surgery and occupational therapy to rehabilitate Bovim's arms and hands.

"I've never entertained the thought that the attack was linked to cage-diving," he remembers as we sit around his kitchen table. "The shark had been severely injured and the attack was simply opportunistic."

The incident did, however, get him thinking about the way humans interact with sharks, and led him to found the lobby group Shark Concern in 2004, which has consistently called for a moratorium on chumming - the practice of lobbing fish oil on the water to lure sharks towards tourists in submerged cages. While South Africa's cage-diving fraternity insist their methods are 100% safe, the debate simply refuses to die. Bovim's views have turned him into something of an international cause célèbre, regularly sought out by major media houses like Outside magazine.

"If you're going to keep rewarding animals in the Pavlovian sense, they're going to associate you with food - which is why you never taunt, bait or feed a wild animal. It's one of the basic tenets of ecotourism and yet cage-diving flouts this all the time," he says.

Cage-diving operators say sharks do not recognise humans when they are shielded by a boat or cage; that they don't feed sharks; and that the ocean's apex predators have never evolved to incorporate people into their diet - if they had, there would be daily carnage in the Western Cape's bathing waters, where there are no shark nets.

Bovim counters: "Once a shark has picked up the chum scent and approaches the boat, the operator will use some bait to wrangle it closer to the cage ... then pull it away just before the shark bites. But this takes a huge amount of skill, and every now and then the shark will get it. So sharks are rewarded with food.

"Great whites also have very well-developed faculties such as electro-sensing, which means they don't have to see you to know you are there and to become used to your imprint - even when you are in a cage."

Bovim believes that all sharks, which take a long time to reach sexual maturity and only produce a few pups at a time, are vulnerable to overfishing. He also takes issue with the fact that some cage-diving operators exploit smaller sharks for their liver - "a powerful attractant for great white sharks. I've heard the liver of the sevengill shark, a threatened species, is a favourite target - and these people call themselves eco-tourism operators?"

The only way to proceed, he says, is to follow the precautionary principle - if in any doubt that your actions are going to harm the environment, you stop what you are doing.

"This is how, in 1991, for instance, South Africans became the first nation to protect the great white shark, simply because we invoked the precautionary principle," he said.

Without a viable shark eco-tourism industry, however, South Africa's sharks, of which 36 are threatened or data-deficient species, could lose their commercial value - and potentially bear the brunt of declining incentives to protect them.

"Sharks have had a very bad press and they do need friends - cage-diving, even as it stands, helps people love sharks and see how beautiful they are. It gives them a value and it's a money spinner for low-income communities," Bovim says.

"But there is another way, which is already exploited by some cage-diving operators - watching dawn and dusk shark predations on Cape fur seals at Seal Island in False Bay.

"It's an ideal location for this type of tourism as the island drops steeply into the ocean, which means the seals are particularly vulnerable when they enter the water. The sharks here will often come shooting from the depths of the sea like a rocket. It's a breathtaking thing to watch."

Bovim's proposals to phase out cage-diving and broaden it into predation tourism would be viable only in the winter months between May and October when seals are fatter, more desirable shark quarry. However, South Africa's whale-watching season extends only between June and November and yet it draws tourists from all over the world, who are only too delighted to view the leviathans of the seas from a distance.

"Let's steer the shark-tourism industry closer to that over the next 10 years," says Bovim, who claims he has "set up several appointments that were never honoured" and has written many letters over the past six years to "all the right people in government - and yet I keep walking into red tape".

"But that's environmental activism for you," Bovim says. "It requires a lot of hard work, tough skin and continually banging your head to try and get somewhere."

http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/ ... -the-shark
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