Shark Spotters, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa
Shark Spotters improves beach safety through both shark warnings and emergency assistance in the event of a shark incident. It contributes to research on shark ecology and behaviour, raises public awareness about shark-related issues, and provides employment opportunities and skills development for Shark Spotters.
Why this is important:
The Shark Spotters believe that if they can reduce the already small risk of a shark bite then they can make a meaningful contribution to white shark conservation, contribute to the community’s well-being and set a precedent in how people and sharks can co-exist.
Shark Spotters is a pioneering shark safety programme that has attracted international and local attention because of the novel way it seeks to find a solution to potential conflicts between sharks and people. Adopted by the City of Cape Town in 2004 in response to a spate of shark bite incidents and increased shark sightings, Shark Spotters is now the primary shark safety programme used in Cape Town.
Aims and Objectives
Shark Spotters are positioned at strategic points along the Cape Peninsula, primarily in False Bay coastline. A spotter is placed on the mountain with polarised sunglasses and binoculars. This spotter is in radio contact with another spotter on the beach. If a shark is seen the beach spotter sounds a siren and raises a specific colour coded flag (see diagram below). When the siren sounds the water users are requested to leave the water and only return when the appropriate all clear signal is given.
Seal colonies are well established white shark aggregation areas, but a new study shows that inshore coastal areas (not associated with seals) can be equally as important for white sharks and that use of aggregation areas can differ between the…
Spotters now operating at eighth beach, Monwabisi, with three white sharks spotted in the first day!
Shark Spotters started operating at our eighth location today, Monwabisi Beach, on the northern shore of False Bay. (15 December 2012). The sharks gave us a warm welcome, with two white sharks spotted at 12.45pm and one at 2.05pm. Due…
Winter months generally have low shark activity on the inshore areas and are therefore quieter from a shark spotting perspective. We therefore take this opportunity to get in some much needed training with the spotters, which we all thoroughly enjoy!…
It’s been a busy few months at Shark Spotters. On 1st June 2012 we expanded our programme to a seventh beach, the Caves, Koeel Bay on the eastern shore of False Bay. The Caves was the site of the tragic…
Yesterday, 1 April, at approximately 11am, a large shark was spotted in Noordhoek by a group of surfers. They observed the shark patrolling up and down the inshore area, in beautiful crystal waters. The shark was originally thought by onlookers…