GANSBAAI (SOUTH AFRICA)- Where commercial shark dive operators and official conservation organisations cooperate, sharks are rescued. As in the case of a   a juvenile female Great White Shark in the South African waters of Gansbaai, entangled in fishing line.

The line had become wrapped around the shark’s head and through its gills, and another half a metre, with hooks and bait attached to it, was trailing behind it. She  was spotted by shark cage diving operators who told the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, which runs conservation and research programmes in the region.The shark would have faced certain death if the line remained in place,

The rescue team searched for several days, but were unable to find it.Because most great whites spend only a few weeks at a time in the waters around Gansbaai, fears mounted that the shark would leave before the team could locate it to try to free it.Then, earlier this month, the shark was spotted from a commercial shark tours boat. The crew had prepared a line that included a barbless circle hook that is easily removed once a shark is caught. They immediately alerted the Oceans & Coasts branch of the national Department of Environmental Affairs, and within 48 hours the branch dispatched a team – of researchers, deckhands and collections fishermen who support the Two Oceans Aquarium – to Gansbaai to look for the shark. It took just two quick cuts to remove all the line and free the shark

Great White Sharks are a protected species in South Africa, but are illegally targeted by shore-based fishermen. Each year, about 30 of the species die in the shark nets off the KwaZulu-Natal coast.