Dead dolphins in official vehicle
A VIDEO of about 15 dead dolphins and sharks with “severe” rope injuries, piled on the back of a KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board (KZNSB) Land Cruiser and trailer, has caused an uproar on social media, with animal lovers calling for the removal of shark nets along the coastline.
A marine-life lover, Shane Pike, captured the video of the vehicle travelling between Higginson Highway and Spaghetti Junction on the N2 on Wednesday.
Pike said he drove past the Land Cruiser but, after seeing a dolphin’s tail “flapping around”, he slowed down to record the “horrible sight”.
“When I slowed down to record it, I saw a dolphin’s entire body as the shade cloth covering it flew off,” Pike said.
“The dolphins had many rope burns which are testament to the struggles they had in the nets. It’s so cruel and (they) try justifying it, saying they are designed only to catch sharks, yet so far we have seen dolphins, turtles, baby whales, manta rays and a huge array of harmless sharks being caught.”
Co-administrator of Salt Fishing SA Facebook page Cameron Johnstone said Pike sent him the video and he posted it on social media to raise awareness about what was happening to marine life along the Durban coast.
The video was shared 249 times, with more than 100 comments condemning the act.
Head of operations at KZNSB Mike Anderson Reade said 10 dolphins and five sharks were being transported from the Margate Base Station to KZNSB headquarters in Umhlanga Rocks. Reade said the dolphins were caught in the shark nets, from February to July, and were originally stored in Umhlanga but, due to freezer refurbishments, had been temporarily stored at the Margate facility.
KZNSB senior scientist Sabine Wintner said the board routinely stored “incidentally caught” and stranded dolphins to make them available to researchers Dr Greg Hofmeyr, from the Port Elizabeth Museum, and Dr Stephanie Plön, from the Africa Earth Observatory Network (Aeon) Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute, at the Nelson Mandela University.
However, mammal lovers say the dissection of the dolphins and other mammals “have been done enough”.
Johnstone said there was growing public support for the removal of shark nets.
He said nets were more destructive than a safety precaution, as 42% of sharks caught in nets were moving out to sea rather than towards the shore.
A screen grab from the video taken by Shane Pike shows one of the dolphins being transported by the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board earlier this week.