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By Sarah Waries, 9th December 2013

In preparation for the peak summer season, Shark Spotters is re-launching their summer campaign, #BeSharkSmart, encouraging beach goers to “think smart” when it comes to shark safety! We will be sharing #BeSharkSmart tips and facts daily and will be actively engaging with the public on the beaches throughout the holidays, spreading #goodsharkkarma!

TITLEY Sarah - Shark Banner

© TITLEY Sarah - Shark Banner

The festive season has begun, the holidays have started and people from all around the globe are flocking to our beaches, to enjoy the warm water and have some fun in the sun! But people are not the only ones that love these warm, summer conditions, they are also the perfect conditions for loads of marine life. From small shoals of Harders (mullet) to big schools of yellowtail, fish become more abundant in warmer water, particularly over 18°C and of course, where there are small fish, the bigger fish with bigger teeth are sure to follow!

White sharks are apex predators and our research has shown that even though they are capable of massive journeys across ocean basins, they show a high degree of selectivity when it comes to where they spend their time. In False Bay during autumn & winter months (Mar – Aug) they aggregate at Seal Island to predate on young naïve seal pups, but in spring and summer (Sep – Feb) the sharks, especially the females, aggregate closer inshore where migratory fish, smaller sharks and even stingrays are on their menu.

(c) Morne Hardenberg

(c) Morne Hardenberg

So considering both people and sharks love hanging out at the beach at the same time, it’s important for us to #BeSharkSmart when using the water in order to reduce the risk of shark attacks, and help keep the balance between recreational water user safety and white shark conservation!
Here are a few basic safety tips to start off with, but be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more over the festive period!

 – Consider using a Shark Spotter Beach
 – Paddle in groups and stay close together
 – Pay attention to shark signage on beaches
 – Speak to Shark Spotters, law enforcement officials or life-guards about the area you plan to use
 – Obey beach officials if told to leave the water
 -Learn the Shark Spotters flag system

 – Don’t swim in deep water beyond the breakers
 – Don’t swim if you are bleeding
 – Don’t swim near river mouths
 – Don’t swim, surf or paddle at night or on your own
 – Don’t swim, surf or paddle when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding
 – Don’t swim, surf or paddle near trek-netting, fishing or spearfishing
 – Don’t dive for rock lobster using a bait bag

We are very excited to be involved with the Save Our Seas Foundation (SOSF) #goodsharkkarma campaign which forms part of the Wavescape Film Festival . Join us online to learn more about some of the lesser known sharks and some mind blowing shark facts! You can follow the SOSF on Twitter (@saveourseas) and Facebook. Be sure to check out the Wavescape film festival activities which include the screening on Clifton 4th beach tonight, Slide Night at the Two Oceans Aquarium and much more!

All our beaches are now operating every day throughout the summer school holidays (see operating times below) and the exclusion net in Fish Hoek will also be deployed every day from 9am – 5pm throughout the festive period (weather permitting). Please note that strong winds, large swell and the presence of large marine animals will affect the deployments. Follow us on our social media and website to check if the net has been deployed, for real time shark sightings, and to learn more in our #BeSharkSmart campaign!

Muizenberg corner 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 08:00 to 18:00
St James 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 08:00 to 18:00
Fish Hoek 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 07:00 to 18:45
Noordhoek – The Hoek 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 08:00 to 18:00
Kogel Bay – Caves 7 days a week, 365 days a year from 08:00 to 18:00
Clovelly Weekends, public and school holidays – until May 1 from 10:00 to 17:00
Glencairn Weekends, public and school holidays – until May 1 from 08:00 to 18:00
Monwabisi Weekends, public and school holidays – until May 1 from 08:00 to 18:00

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