Shark net safety in doubt
SWIMMERS were warned yesterday that vandals and boats had damaged shark nets three times in three months, meaning a Regional Council commitment to spend $38.8 million on new nets would not result in complete safety.
The council signed a contract with Norwegian aquatic supplies company Maritime Mechanic yesterday for the installation and maintenance of shark nets at eight more Hong Kong beaches, bringing the total of protected beaches to 11.
Deputy Director of Regional Services (Operations), Benjamin Tang Kwok-bun, said vandals had damaged the floating pipe keeping one net afloat at Clear Water Bay Second Beach in June.
Boating accidents resulted in a major net rip at Kadoorie Beach in April and minor damage at Clear Water Bay Second in June.
'The nets do form some sort of barrier to sharks but it cannot be regarded as completely safe,' Mr Tang said.
Dr Ni I-hsun, a fish biologist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said detailed research could reveal what times of the year sharks were likely to be migrating past Hong Kong beaches.
He said kill counts kept by commercial shark hunters in China and Taiwan could be useful in building a database.
The Recreation and Cultural Branch is assessing whether money should be allocated to fund a shark study.