The NSRI has again warned bathers, paddlers, body borders and surfers to be cautious along the Southern Cape and the Eastern Cape coastlines, in particular around Plettenberg Bay and also between Mossel Bay and Jeffreys Bay, due to a high number of reported Great White shark sightings and close encounters.
The increase of sharks at this time of the year is part of the normal aggregation of these animals that take advantage of natural prey like seals and fish close in shore.
A large amount of shark sightings and some encounters have been reported close in shore along the Plettenberg Bay coastline over the past few weeks.
Drone footage of a large Great White shark in close proximity to surfers in Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday highlights the urgency of this safety appeal.
Sarah Waries of City of Cape Town (CoCT) Shark Spotters programme has told the NSRI “The behaviour seen in this drone footage shows that the shark is aware of the surfers and is investigating the surfers.
It is important for people to remember that Great White sharks are naturally inquisitive Apex predators and that although shark bites are rare, water users must understand the inherent risk associated with sharing the ocean with these animals and change their behaviour accordingly to avoid encountering sharks.”
The NSRI has confirmed a number of encounters at Robberg, Plettenberg Bay on Sunday, Boneyards, Jeffreys Bay on Monday and again at Robberg on Tuesday, following shark sightings in close proximity to surfers reported by eye-witnesses.
The CoCT Shark Spotters Programme advise:
To reduce the risk of encountering a shark the public are urged to familiarise themselves with the following safety advice:
Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
Do not swim, surf or surf-ski where fishing or spear fishing is taking place
Do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers
Do not swim if you are bleeding
Do not swim near river mouths
Do not swim, surf or surfski alone
Do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night
Do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby
Obey beach officials and lifeguards if told to leave the water
If a shark has recently been sighted in an area, consider using another beach for the day
First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area
For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea: please consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches