The Shark Smart Swim Challenge at Fish Hoek Beach: a win for sharks!

By Clova Mabin, 14th April 2021

Do you know that there are many different species of sharks found in False Bay? Some of these are residents, while others are seasonal visitors and other species have only been recorded through rare sightings. On the 27th March 2021, the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Education Centre in collaboration with the Shark Spotters hosted an educational event at Fish Hoek beach to celebrate the 13 most common shark species we find in the Bay.

Sharks of False Bay. Image © Marc Dando

These include the following species:

·       Bronze whaler

·       Spotted sevengill cowshark

·       White shark

·       Spotted gully shark

·       Spotted spiny dogfish

·       Soupfin shark

·       Common smoothhound

·       Tiger catshark

·       Pyjama catshark

·       Leopard catshark

·       Puffadder shyshark

·       Dark shyshark

·       St Joseph shark (actually a chimaera, not technically a shark!)

Swimmer Leigh de Necker with the Sharks Spotters crew. Image © Ray Chaplin

The amazing Leigh de Necker committed to swimming 1 km inside the shark exclusion net for each of these sharks to raise awareness of the shark diversity in our local waters. She swam a whopping 13 km in 4.5 hours in very chilly waters! The Shark Spotters Fish Hoek net crew also swam several lengths each to support Leigh. In addition to raising awareness, the aim was to raise funds for the Shark Spotters to enable them to continue providing non-lethal shark protection to water users in False Bay.

Shark Spotters crew deploying the shark exclusion net. Image © Ray Chaplin

While the swims were underway, the education teams from both the Shark Education centre and the Shark Spotters ran a jam-packed schedule of activities, including a colouring competition, a shark sand sculpture competition, and an amazing race game.

Competitors hard at work sculpting sharks in the sand © SOSF Shark Education Centre

Judges and competitors © SOSF Shark Education Centre

Young competitor and his shark sculpture © SOSF Shark Education Centre

Sand sculpture © SOSF Shark Education Centre

Save Our Seas stand © SOSF Shark Education Centre