Shark nets to become fixture
By ELISABETH TACEY
SHARK nets look set to become a permanent fixture at some Hong Kong beaches following a successful first test season.
Although the test has to run for another summer before the Regional Services Department decides whether to use them every season, first results suggest they will stay and might be installed at other beaches.
And despite the only shark alert this summer being dismissed as a false alarm, Recreation and Culture Deputy Secretary Rachel Cartland denied that meant the nets had not been properly tested.
'What we don't know is whether or not there were any sharks that were unreported,' she said.
Yesterday, the contractor, Maritime Mechanic, finished removing the nets from Silverstrand and Clearwater Bay second beaches in Sai Kung and Kadoorie Beach in Tuen Mun for overhaul.
They will be replaced before the next swimming season starts on April 1.
'I think it would be good to have the nets at more beaches. People should have the right to swim somewhere they can feel safe,' said managing director Harald Kvam.
Beaches on Hong Kong Island such as Deepwater Bay or Repulse Bay - where there are already nets to keep out rubbish - would be a good idea, he said.
Fish biologist Yvonne Sadovy of Hong Kong University, a member of the shark co-ordination team run by the Recreation and Culture Branch, agreed that 'what they've done really makes sense'.
'It would seem that a lot of people do feel safer. At least there is a place for people if they feel nervous.
'I understand they are thinking of deploying them in other beaches in the future. It would be very hard to take them away,' she said.