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Sharks on the Urban Edge

Project leader: Dr Alison Kock (Shark Spotters, UCT and SAIAB)

Overall aim:
 To investigate the primary reason (i.e. feeding, resting, socializing or reproduction) why white sharks aggregate along inshore areas (not associated with pinnipeds) in False Bay over spring and summer months using a combination of methods.

Funded by:
 Save Our Seas Foundation and the University of Cape Town


  • Monitor white shark presence and distribution in False Bay across different habitats and seasons and compare their behaviour e.g. swimming depth and swim speed in different habitats to help understand what they use the different habitats for i.e. feeding, resting or socialising.
  • Conduct bi-monthly surveys of the inshore area from Fish Hoek to Strand. Shark sightings, other marine life sightings, environmental variables to be recorded using standardized methodology.
  • Identify environmental factors that influence white shark presence and distribution. Additionally, test the hypothesis that white shark presence inshore during spring and summer is higher when water is warm (≥18 °C) and during new moon and compare this with behaviour at Seal Island.
  • Identify prey availability (diversity and abundance) across different habitats and seasons. Test the hypothesis that white shark presence is related to an increase in abundance of teleost and chondrichthyan prey in spring and summer months.