Zambezi Sharks, South Africa
Breede River, South Africa
To investigate the newly found habitat usage of the Zambezi (bull) shark in the Southern Cape region of South Africa.
Why this is important:
The recent discovery of Zambezi sharks in the warm‐temperate Breede River estuary on the southwest coast of South Africa - 366km outside its known range ‐ has refuted current scientific thinking on this species, which was previously thought to occur only in tropical and subtropical waters.
To address these newfound gaps in the scientific knowledge, this project aims to:
- Identify reasons for this shift in distribution using satellite and acoustic tagging techniques.
- Determine how Zambezi sharks utilise this unique habitat.
- Identify the population structure of this species in the Breede River and South Africa.
This data will be used to inform and develop a species‐specific management strategy for Zambezi sharks in South Africa. As a species of global conservation concern, such a study undoubtedly comes at a critical time.
Aims and Objectives
- Determine the genetic structure of the Breede River Zambezi shark population and compare this to genetic information from other parts of their South African distribution.
- Determine the abundance and population structure of Zambezi sharks in the Breede River.
- Define fine‐scale and broader‐scale habitat utilisation patterns.
- Examine how physico‐chemical features affect the distribution and movement of Zambezi sharks in the Breede River.
- Determine if the Breede River estuary is a pupping and/or nursery ground for Zambezi sharks.
South African Shark Conservancy (SASC)
2009 - 2010
Just weeks after receiving the news that South Africa’s Minister of Fisheries, Tina Joemat Pettersson, had signed documentation approving the ban on elasmobranch fishing in the Breede River the emergency regulations were officially gazetted in terms of subsections 2(e) and…
Since the scientific discovery of Zambezi sharks in South Africa’s Breede River in 2009, our team has been motivating for the implementation of an emergency protection measure (EPM) to ban the disturbance of, and fishing for, the species to protect…
Nine months after our research team first deployed a series of 18 acoustic receivers in South Africa’s Breede River we are finally gaining much-anticipated insight into the secret lives of a Zambezi shark and its favourite prey, the spotted grunter. …
The French government has recently provided economic incentives to fishers on the island of Réunion to begin culling Zambezi (bull) sharks, following a rise in shark attacks on surfers and bathers in the area. This action has been condemned by…
The month of May was an exciting one for the team from SASC and the Department of Fisheries. It marked the first time we downloaded data from the array of 18 acoustic receivers in South Africa’s Breede River, and the…