[imagesource: Getty Images]
There is no need for panic.
Rather, Shark Spotters Safety Education Research Conservation (SSSERC) is simply letting us know that we should be a little more cautious about when and where we swim this summer.
News24 reports that four great white and bronze whale sharks have been spotted recently at Strandfontein, Muizenberg, and Fish Hoek beaches.
Despite the well-documented presence of sharks in and around our waters (albeit far fewer great whites), there hasn’t been a shark attack in Cape Town since 2014.
Here’s Shark Spotters’ Sarah Waries:
“We’ve seen a total of five sharks this year, with regular sightings of bronze whale sharks. In previous years, we’d see about 200 sharks during the year, before white sharks started disappearing in 2018. They’ve now started making a comeback to our shores, and it’s great that we can spot them after they’ve been gone for so long,” she said.
Waries added that bronze whale sharks could grow up to 3m in size and usually hunted for their food.
“Even though there have been no records of these sharks attacking people in South Africa, it is still advisable for people to practice safety precautions when entering the oceans,” she said.
Shark Spotters posted about sone of the sightings last week:
Waries advises swimming in groups, avoiding areas with murky water, and refraining from swimming during darkness or twilight hours.
That’s because when visibility is poor sharks rely on senses other than vision to locate their prey.
If you do come across a shark while swimming the key is to remain calm:
“Assess the situation. Do not panic! Panicked, erratic movements are likely to increase the shark’s curiosity, draw it closer to you and possibly send signals similar to an injured or distressed prey. Use any equipment (camera, surfboard, etc.) you may be carrying to create a barrier between yourself and the shark,” Waries said.
If you see a shark, calmly alert other ocean users around you. Remain in or create a group, and leave the water in a calm and swift, but smooth, manner.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
You can find all the information you need on their website.
Another factoid to put your mind at ease:
Being bitten by a shark remained a concern for many beachgoers, even though statistically, the chances are extremely low, Waries added.
Of the more than 500 species of shark, only the great white bull (Zambezi) and tiger shark posed a significant threat to humans.
“All three of these species occur in waters off Africa, although in Cape Town we only deal with white sharks, as bull and tiger sharks do not occur in Cape waters,” she added.
Statistically, you are more likely to die of boredom talking about COVID-19 this summer than you are from a shark attack.
(That’s not true, but you get my drift.)
Shark Spotters operate 365 days a year at four beaches – Muizenberg, Fish Hoek, Caves, and St James.
The other four beaches – Clovelly, Glencairn, The Hoek, and Monwabisi – are monitored from September through to April as well as on weekends, public holidays, and school holidays.
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