File picture: AP
File picture: AP

Shark Spotters 'on high alert' after sighting of great white in False Bay

By Staff Writer Time of article published Jan 7, 2020

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Cape Town – A third shark has been spotted in False Bay in less than a month after concern had been expressed at the absence of great white sharks for most of 2019.

Between 2010 and 2016, Shark Spotters recorded an average of 205 great white shark sightings a year during spring and summer, but only 50 had been seen since the start of 2018, it was reported at the end of August last year. 

Today, the City of Cape Town informed Shark Spotters that a 4-metre great white shark has been spotted at Seal Island, 5.7 kilometres off the northern beaches of False Bay.

"We are on high alert for any white shark sightings on the inshore and will update the public immediately should we see one," Shark Spotters posted on Twitter.

On Friday, December 13, swimmers had to exit the sea in great haste when a shark was spotted near Fish Hoek beach.

Shark Spotters also confirmed that a bronze whaler, also known as a copper shark, had been spotted at Fish Hoek the previous day.

The loss of the world’s biggest predatory fish from False Bay, where they are famed for leaping out of the water in pursuit of seals, prompted the City to note their disappearance in a statement at the end of August.

“Great white sharks have been noticeably absent from False Bay on the Cape coast during 2019, prompting questions as to when the apex predators will return. 

“The shark cage diving eco-tourism operators, who would normally witness multiple individual sharks visiting their vessels and up to 30 seal predations daily, have not had a single white shark sighting at Seal Island in 2019.”

Gregg Oelofse, who oversees coastal management for the City of Cape Town, said: “It's unprecedented that they aren’t here. To think that they may no longer be here is tragic. They are central to Cape Town’s identity.”

Last October, an aerial survey of southern right whales off the Cape coast by the University of Pretoria counted 200 whales in the area – the second-lowest figure since 1995.

Cape Times

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