About 60 people have been mobilized to catch a shark which attacked and killed a woman last Saturday in the Bay of Inhambane in southern Mozambique.The Mozambican Maritime Administration has authorized the operation, and a team of around 60 fishermen, biologists and local officials has been assembled to hunt and kill the shark. The Megafauna Association, an NGO that protects marine wild life in Inhambane, is opposed to the operation. Cited in the independent daily “O Pais”, the Association warns that, even if a shark is caught, there is no way to be certain that it is the same animal which killed the woman on Saturday. It is not even clear which species of shark attacked the woman. The spokesperson for the association, Dalila Siqueira, said that although the lives of human beings are certainly more important than those of sharks, killing sharks is no guarantee that the seas will become any safer.
There were plenty of cases of beaches in other parts of the world where sharks believed to have attacked people were killed, but shark attacks continued. Furthermore, sharks travel long distances, and there is no guarantee that a shark that was in the Bay of Inhambane last Saturday will still be there now.Nonetheless, the operation to catch and kill the shark began on Wednesday. Six boats using long lines were used. The long lines, familiar from tuna fishing, trail behind the boats, and carry hooks laden with bait. Chunks of fish and of red meat were used as bait – but no shark was caught on Wednesday.If the long lines do not work, nets will be used to hunt the shark. In both cases, it is more than likely that other species of fish will be caught – and not only fish. Long-lining has come under strong criticism for its effects on seabirds. Birds go after the bait, become hooked on the lines and drown.The hunt for the shark could go on for a week, and the estimated cost of the operation is 90,000 meticais (about 2,200 US dollars).Shark attacks are rare in Mozambican waters, and vastly more sharks are killed by human beings than the other way round. Sharks are killed, including in Mozambique, for their fins, which are sold in Asia where they are regarded as a delicacy.