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The City of Cape Town and its partner the Shark Spotters urges beach-goers to pay attention to shark signage when visiting beaches and to always obey officials if instructed to leave the water. Read more below:

The shark monitoring programme covers eight Cape Town beaches.

‘We will again be doing everything we can to enhance beach safety, especially ahead of and during the traditionally busy beach days including the Day of Goodwill, New Year’s day and Tweede Nuwejaar.

‘Even though 30 shark spotters and 10 Fish Hoek shark exclusion net crew members have been employed to improve beach safety during the upcoming summer season, we need all the help that we can get. Members of the public are asked to be vigilant and to report any shark sightings to the Shark Spotters.

‘Let’s also look after each other this season – many eyes and ears will be to the benefit of us all,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

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.The exclusion net is in operation on a daily basis (weather permitting) between 09:00 and 17:00 until the end of March 2017 and on weekends, public and school holidays in April 2017.

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.

Beach-goers may also make use of the Shark Spotter app which provides water users with all the latest shark safety information at City beaches, including which flag is currently flying and why. The flags fly for various reasons, including:

  • poor spotting conditions due to cloud cover
  • shark sightings
  • an indication of water temperature
  • the lunar phase
  • an indication of whether the shark exclusion barrier in Fish Hoek has been deployed or not

The app is updated by the Shark Spotters on duty in real time so users can be assured that they always have the most current information at their fingertips to help them make a personal assessment about shark risks when entering the water.

Shark Spotters are present at the following other beaches:​

Beach
St James/Kalk Bay Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00
Fish Hoek Mon – Sun, 07:00 – 18:45
Caves, Kogel Bay Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00
Noordhoek (The Hoek) Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00 (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, please visit www.sharkspotters.org.za or follow the Shark Spotters on Twitter (@SharkSpotters) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/SharkSpotters). 

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
  • 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
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