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09/21/2010 Khanyisile Momoza ( South Africa ) *** Fatal ***

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09/21/2010 Khanyisile Momoza ( South Africa ) *** Fatal ***

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Poacher killed by great white shark
A poacher in South Africa has been eaten by a great white shark during an illegal fishing trip.

By Stewart Maclean
Published: 11:47AM BST 25 Sep 2010

The attack took place on Tuesday between Dyer Island and Pearly Beach, east of Cape Town. Photo: Alfred Weissenegger / Rex Features Khanyisile Momoza, 29, was attacked as he harvested valuable perlemoen shells in the waters near Gansbaai in South Africa.

The fisherman was among a group of 12 poachers who had tried to swim to safety after spotting the shark in shallow waters.

Rhino poaching on the rise in South AfricaA friend of Mr Momoza, who witnessed the attack, said: "There was screaming and crying. We just swam, we didn't look back.

"We were swimming in a group but he was a bit behind us.

"It jumped out of the water with him and then it took him down."

The attack took place on Tuesday between Dyer Island and Pearly Beach, east of Cape Town.

In an interview with the Weekend Argus local newspaper, the victim's friend told how the poaching group had left the beach at 6am and swum for two hours before reaching the island three miles offshore, where they began hunting for perlemoen shellfish.

The men were swimming back to shore with their catch when the great white approached.

The survivors admitted they had been too scared for their own lives to help the stricken swimmer and raced back to dry land.

Once ashore the group alerted authorities to the tragedy.

Illegal harvesting of perlemoen is big business in South Africa, where the valuable shellfish are common along coastal areas.

The molluscs' fleshy insides are considered a delicacy similar to oysters, and either served raw or cooked in seafood dishes.

But widespread farming of the shells has sparked fears the population could plummet.

In 2007 South African authorities listed the species, also known as abalone, as endangered with the global wildlife protection body CITES.

The restrictions were loosened in July this year, although it remains illegal to harvest perlemeon without a licence.

However hundreds of local fishermen are believed to continue to work in the illegal trade.

Many poor workers risk arrest or injury to hunt for the wild shells, whose meat can be worth up to £25 a kilo.

The shark attack victim's friend told the Argus his group went perlemoen fishing around once a week and needed the money to provide food for their families.

Gans Bay, known in Afrikaans as Gansbaai, is famously the centre of South Africa's great white shark population.

In recent years some experts have warned the increase in commercial "shark dive tourism" has encouraged great whites to inhabit shallower waters.

Every day hundreds of tourists pay to experience a close encounter with the creatures, which are enticed with food to come close to boats.

Some fear the sharks are now commonly inhabiting waters where humans are more likely to be swimming or working.

The poacher is the second person this year to be killed by a shark in South Africa.

In January tourist Lloyd Skinner was killed by a great white as he swam a few metres off the beach in Fish Hoek near Cape Town.

Shocked holiday-makers watched from the shore as the 47-year-old was pulled underwater.

Rescuers later searched for the Zimbabwean's body but found only his goggles.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... shark.html
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