Sharks sound terrifying, but a scene from Jaws isn't something we need to worry about in Hong Kong

Sharks sound terrifying, but a scene from Jaws isn't something we need to worry about in Hong Kong

Hongkongers don't have much to worry about because 32 beaches here have shark nets to protect swimmers

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A shark that was caught by a fisherman off Sai Kung in 1996. Shark attacks are rare in Hong Kong.
A shark that was caught by a fisherman off Sai Kung in 1996. Shark attacks are rare in Hong Kong.
Photo: SCMP

A video of an Australian surfer fighting off a shark in South Africa went viral earlier this week. Since then, swimmers everywhere have been worried about being bitten by sharks.

But Hong Kong has it all under control. The last reported shark attack was in 1995 when three swimmers died within 10 days near Sai Kung. After these attacks, the government installed shark barrier nets to protect swimmers.

And these shark nets work. Hong Kong's nets are different from those used in Australia and South Africa, places known for shark attacks. Whereas the nets used in those countries need to be lifted every few days to prevent rotting, Hong Kong's nets are more long-lasting. They stay in the water for around nine months, and they're inspected by divers at least twice a week, says Ricky Ng, president of Asia Divers, the company in charge of the shark nets at 17 beaches around Hong Kong. Thirty-two beaches around the territory currently have shark nets, according to a government website.

Since these nets were installed, there have been no shark fatalities here, although in 2013 a 1.8-metre silvertip shark was caught on film near Sai Kung.

But conservation experts say Hongkongers have nothing to fear from sharks at our beaches, and sightings should be welcomed. Ocean Park Conservation Foundation director Suzanne Gendron says "sharks are part of a healthy ecosystem".

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
No need to fear sharks in HK waters

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1 comment

Lau Kin Hei

19:22pm

I think we no need to too worry because in the Hong Kong there have a lot of facility to help us and save our life so I think we no need to be too worry and I think shark is no going to eat some people if you swimming in the safe range so I think we no need to be too worry.