THE PROXIMITY of the whale shark's carcass could attract shark activity. Visitors along the Atlantic Seaboard are advised to be cautious. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - Authorities were on Sunday removing the carcass of a whale shark that beached at Camps Bay on Saturday.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) reported that it had notified City authorities on Sunday afternoon that the whale shark had drifted ashore and was in shallow surf on Camps Bay Beach.

“The whale shark carcass on Camps Bay Beach washed into the surf at high tide during the night and the City’s solid waste removal unit was unable to reach the carcass in the wave sets during efforts to remove it for disposal on Sunday morning.

“The carcass appears to have lost buoyancy and there is a possibility that it may not wash ashore.

“If the carcass washes ashore it will be recovered for disposal but failing that it can be expected that natural decomposition will occur at sea.

“As a precaution, NSRI advises public caution on the Atlantic Seaboard in the vicinity of Camps Bay due to a possibility, although remote, of increased shark activity that may result from the decomposing carcass.

NSRI said marine scientist Mike Meyer confirmed to the NSRI studies had indicated that unlike the natural phenomenon of increased shark activity that is normally drawn to a decomposing whale carcass, this phenomenon appeared to have the opposite effect in relation to a shark carcass.

Decomposition pheromones released from a shark carcass repelled shark activity to an area of a decomposing shark and with this animal being a whale shark it would most likely result in such a trend.

Meyer, who was on the scene to assist, said that these were normally tropical water animals and getting caught in cold West Coast currents along with the recent strong seas and heavy swells may have contributed to the whale shark beaching and perishing.

City of Cape Town Solid Waste Management, in an operation coordinated by CoCT Coastal Management, removed from the whale shark from beach for disposal.

Samples have been collected for scientific research.


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Cape Argus