It’s been a very busy year at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre (SOSSC). We welcomed Meg Ledeboer as the new manager, Kevin Baker as logistics officer, Paul Miller as educator, Adrian Hewitt and Robert Raw, two Masters Students conducting shark research, and Candice Brittain, a full time intern. Michael, Zanele, Matheus and myself are still at the SOSSC, and Cheryl-Samantha Owen, SOSF’s Ocean Correspondent, has also joined us. Together we have created a formidable force under one roof to bring together research, education and awareness to make a significant contribution to ocean (particularly shark) conservation and awareness in Southern Africa.
I was fortunate to be able to present some of our white shark research results in Hawaii and Australia earlier this year, while renovations were made to the SOSSC. We had to suspend most educational lessons at the centre during the renovations, but we were still able to host legendary shark research pioneer Dr. Eugenie Clarke and her daughter Aya in June. It was Dr. Clarke’s first visit to South Africa and during their stay we conducted white shark fieldwork and went sevengill shark diving. Diving with sevengills was another first for Dr. Clarke and even though the water was surgy and cold, Dr. Clarke enjoyed the experience of seeing sevengills up close. We also partnered with academy nominated film director, Leslie Iwerks, on a project, which we will be working on for the next few months. In July we welcomed Dr. Charlie Huveneers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute for the start of a specialized project on sharks and safety, but we’ll have more information for you soon as things progress on that front.
Adrian Hewitt will be completing his degree on reproductive biology of white sharks and assisting me with the ongoing genetic, tagging and photo-ID aspects of the project, while Robert Raw will be working on population demographics and habitat preferences of sevengill sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus). Adrian, Rob and myself will be keeping you updated on our shark research projects from the field, while Paul, Kevin, Meg and Sam will be updating you on exciting education and awareness campaigns. Other exciting projects lined up include more manual tracking of sharks in False Bay, attaching improved HD Crittercams to white sharks, beach clean-ups and participation in surfing and filming events.
Warm regards from all of us at the SOSSC