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In an effort to increase the safety of beach and ocean users over the summer months, the Fish Hoek shark exclusion barrier is being deployed from 1 October 2016.

The City of Cape Town’s Shark Spotters Programme will operate at eight beaches in Cape Town from 1 October 2016 to 1 May 2017.

There will be 30 shark spotters and 10 net crew employed to boost beach safety during the upcoming summer season.

‘The Fish Hoek shark exclusion net forms a complete barrier from the sea floor to the sea surface and prevents animals from entering the “exclusion zone” in the southern corner of Fish Hoek Bay. It is deployed and retrieved daily to minimise the risk of entangling marine animals and has been specifically designed to have minimal environmental impact.

‘We will do everything in our power to make this a safe summer season but we need beachgoers to help us and to be aware of the usual increase in in-shore shark activity over the summer months. Pay attention to shark signage when visiting beaches and always obey officials if instructed to leave the water,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.The exclusion net will be in operation during the following periods over the summer season:

October 2016
Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
November 2016 to March 2017
Daily (weather permitting)
April 2017
Weekends, public holidays and school holidays

On days that the exclusion net is deployed, the operating hours are between 09:00 and 17:00. The Shark Spotters will keep beach users informed about the deployment of the net via Twitter and Facebook.

The exclusion net will not be deployed if weather conditions (wind and swell) are deemed to be unsuitable. This will be assessed on a daily basis. If weather conditions deteriorate over the course of a day when the net is already deployed, the net may be removed as a precautionary measure. Additionally, if there is a high presence of whales/dolphins or fishing activity in the area, the net will not be deployed.

The Shark Spotters Information Centre, which is situated at Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner, is open to members of the public from 08:00 to 18:00 seven days a week. The centre provides up-to-date information on sharks and marine ecology, basic first-aid, general public assistance and emergencies, storage of valuables and lost property.

Shark Spotters will operate at the following beaches:​

Beach
Summer (October 2016 to April 2017)
Muizenberg
Monday – Sunday, 08:00 – 18:00
St James/Kalk Bay
Monday – Sunday, 08:00 – 18:00
Fish Hoek
Monday – Sunday, 07:00 – 18:45
Caves, Kogel Bay
Monday – Sunday, 08:00 – 18:00
Noordhoek (The Hoek)
Monday – Sunday, 08:00 – 18:00 (September to May)
Clovelly
Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
10:00 – 17:00
Glencairn
Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
08:00 – 18:00
Monwabisi
Weekends, public holidays and school holidays
08:00 – 18:00

For more information on the latest shark sightings and research, residents should please visit www.sharkspotters.org.za or follow the Shark Spotters on Twitter (@SharkSpotters) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SharkSpotters).

Members of the public are encouraged to report any sightings of white sharks to the Shark Spotters. General shark safety tips include:
· using beaches where Shark Spotters are on duty
· taking the time to speak to the Shark Spotters on the day you visit the beach
· using the Shark Spotters signs to familiarise yourself with the four-flag warning system and warning siren
· not swimming, surfing or surf-skiing when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
· not swimming, surfing or surf-skiing where trek-netting, fishing or spear fishing is taking place
· not swimming in deep water beyond the breakers
· not swimming if you are bleeding
· not swimming near river mouths
· not swimming, surfing or surf-skiing at night
· not swimming, surfing or surf-skiing if there has been a whale stranding nearby
· obeying beach officials, lifeguards and Shark Spotters if told to leave the water
· being aware that the rate of encounters with white sharks rises significantly when the water temperature is warmer (18ºC or higher), and during new moon, due to increased opportunities for feeding
· considering using another beach if a shark has recently been sighted in a particular area where no Shark Spotters are present
· asking the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area if you are a first-time user
· paddling in groups, and staying close together (in a diamond formation) for those who are kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea
· considering the use of a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
· paying attention to any shark signage on beaches​

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