South France | Biarritz


Text By Stewie Parkinson

After a spate of shark bites in 2004 and an increase in shark sightings close to popular beaches, shark spotting developed out of a need driven at the local and community level.

Initially shark spotting was done on an ad hoc basis in Muizenberg, started by local big wave surfer Greg Bertish and Dave & Fiona Chudleigh of Surf Shack, who asked individuals working as lifeguards and car guards at the time to keep watch from the mountain overlooking the beach and warn them of any sharks visible in the area.

Surfers Corner, Muizenberg
Since the program began in 2004, we have recorded over 2,020 shark sightings on Shark Spotters beaches.

White sharks have a significant indirect effect on Cape fur seal behaviour. At Seal Island in False Bay, the presence of sharks influences how and when seals travel to and from the island. The seals tend to behave in the way that minimizes their chance of being eaten - by swimming at night and prefering to travel in groups.

An average great white shark needs to eat the equivalent of one baby seal every three days to fulfill its energy requirements.

Sharks play a major role in shaping the marine ecosystems.

South Africa has one of the most diverse and richest shark faunas in the world. And while the Western Cape is well known for its large great white population, the east coast has much more species diversity.

We also provide emergency response in the event of a shark incident, as well as conduct cutting-edge applied research on shark behaviour and ecology, raise awareness about shark safety and conservation issues, and provide employment opportunities and skills development for shark spotters.

Shark Spotters improves beach safety by applying innovative and responsible shark safety solutions that reduce the spatial overlap between people and sharks, thereby reducing the risk of a shark bite. 


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