The City of Cape Town’s partner, the Shark Spotters, has been recognised for their valuable contribution to enhancing the safety of all visitors to in-shore areas. This includes their implementation of the effective shark exclusion net, public education programmes, and cutting-edge research. The City has commended the team for their accolade.
The City of Cape Town-funded Shark Spotters Programme has been awarded the Gold – Innovation Award in the Best for Beach Tourism Category at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016, held on Thursday 7 April 2016.
The Best for Beach Tourism Category, sponsored by BulkSMS, is awarded to a tourism business, organisation or initiative providing or contributing to responsible holidays in beach settings.Judges were looking for organisations that showed leadership in responsible tourism policies and practices in a beach setting, positive integration and relationships with local communities, and proven achievements in maintaining and conserving beach environments.
The Shark Spotters Programme contributes to responsible tourism in Cape Town through its combination of shark safety, cutting-edge research, public education, and community upliftment in order to protect and improve people’s beach experience in areas with a high spatial overlap between people and sharks.
‘The City of Cape Town is proud to partner with Sharks Spotters. We are very pleased that they have been acknowledged for their valuable and innovative efforts in responsible beach tourism, including the implementation of the shark exclusion net, which benefits our beach-goers.
‘Furthermore, this successful initiative demonstrates the value of team work between government, civic organisations and the public to ensure that visitors can enjoy safer beach-going experiences; this is a relationship which the City values highly. As we are dependent on the cooperation of our residents, we would like to encourage the public to report any sightings of white sharks to the Shark Spotters. We also urge the public to adhere to the notifications that are given by the Shark Spotters during visits to the beach,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.
The judges said: ‘Shark Spotters’ solution to safe beaches removes the fear factor from enjoying Cape Town’s beaches, while working to protect sharks, particularly the Great White Shark – a globally threatened species. This pioneering and innovative approach netted a Gold Award. Spotters positioned on the mountainsides surrounding swimming beaches look out for sharks near the shore and use a series of flags as a warning system. Community members benefit from employment and skills development, and beachgoers get to learn about sharks and ecology.’
Sarah Waries, Project Manager of Shark Spotters, said they were delighted to win this award and receive this recognition for their work towards sustainable shark bite mitigation in Cape Town.
‘Working together with the City of Cape Town, we have created a holistic, socially and environmentally responsible initiative that protects beach tourism, the local economy and the environment from the negative repercussions of shark bite incidents,’ said Waries.
The Shark Spotters Information Centre at Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner is open to the public from 08:00 to 18:00, seven days a week.
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).