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Shek O Beach temporarily closed after baby sharks found

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) announced today (May 28) that it had hoisted red and shark flags at Shek O Beach shortly before 6pm today after two baby sharks were found.

Shortly before 6pm, two swimmers found two baby sharks measuring about 50 centimetres in length and six to eight centimetres in body diameter trapped alive in a crevice by the western side of the beach. The lifeguards were alerted and immediately took action to clear swimmers out of the water and hoisted the red and shark flags.

Upon LCSD's request, the Government Flying Service and the Marine Police had searched the water in the vicinity and found no sighting of sharks or big fish. LCSD's shark prevention net maintenance contractor had carried out sonar inspection and found no sign of big fish within the swimming zone. The contractor had also inspected the shark prevention net and found it in good condition.

The baby sharks have been confirmed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to be baby sharks belonging to the non-aggressive white-spotted bamboo shark species (Hemiscyllium plagiosum) commonly found in Hong Kong waters. AFCD has also confirmed that the species posed no danger to human beings.

The LCSD announced that Shek O Beach would remain temporarily closed pending the results of the checking and inspection for the second time tomorrow morning in day light. It had also hoisted the shark flag at its other nine beaches in Southern District to advise swimmers on sighting of sharks in the waters in the vicinity: Deep Water Bay Beach, Repulse Bay Beach, Middle Bay Beach, South Bay Beach, Chung Hom Kok Beach, St. Stephen's Beach, Big Wave Bay Beach, Stanley Main Beach and Turtle Cove Beach.

The Stanley Main Beach Water Sports Centre and St. Stephen's Beach Water Sports Centre which share the same waters will also remain temporarily closed from tomorrow until further notice.

The shark prevention nets are designed to allow small fish to pass through in order to protect juvenile fish which will not pose threat to swimmers for protection of the ecosystem, and prevent swimmers from accidentally entangling with the nets.

Staff of all other LCSD beaches has also enhanced vigilance. Swimmers are advised to stay inside the shark prevention nets to ensure safety.

Ends/ Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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