We cannot adequately conserve sharks if we don’t know where they go or why they use specific areas because it means we can’t fully understand what threats they face or what areas need attention.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNT SO FAR
Cape Town has one of the largest aggregations of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) along its shores. Sharks are present all year round in False Bay, but use the bay very differently depending on the season. During autumn and winter male and female sharks aggregate around Seal Island, while in spring and summer male sharks leave the bay and the female sharks aggregate inshore.
- Kock, A.A. (2014). Behavioural ecology of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in False Bay, South Africa: Towards improved management of a threatened species. PhD thesis.
- Kock AA, O’Riain MJ, Mauff K, Meÿer M, Kotze D, C Griffiths (2013) Residency, Habitat Use and Sexual Segregation of White Sharhttps://open.uct.ac.za/handle/11427/8803ks, Carcharodon carcharias in False Bay, South Africa. PLOS ONE 8(1): e55048. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055048
White shark cage diving is a popular activity at Seal Island. It is important to understand how cage diving activities impact white sharks. This research demonstrated that low to medium eco-tourism activity (baiting and chumming) had limited impact on shark behaviour.
- Laroche, R. K, Kock, A. A., Dill, L. and Oosthuizen, H. (2007). Effects of provisioning ecotourism activity on the behaviour of white sharks Carcharodon carcharias. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Vol. 338: 199–209
- Johnson, R.L., Kock A. A., M.N. Bester, L. Compagno, S. Dudley, C.L. Griffiths, T. Keswick, P.G.H. Kotze, K. Laroche, M.A. Meyër, W.H. Oosthuizen, S. Swanson and L Jacobs (2006). South Africa’s white shark cage-diving industry – is there cause for concern? In Nel. D. C. and Peschak, T. P. (eds). Finding a balance: White shark conservation and recreational safety in the inshore waters of Cape Town, South Africa: proceedings of a specialist workshop. WWF South Africa Report Series – 2006/Marine/001.
- Laroche, R. K. (2006). Ecotourism effects on the interactions between white sharks and Cape fur seals around a small island seal colony. MSc thesis, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
There is a strong relationship between the likelihood of spotting a white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and certain environmental conditions, such as water temperature and lunar phase. There is a higher risk of an encounter when the water temperature is warmer (18 ⁰C) and during new moon.
- Weltz, K, Kock, AA, Winker, H, Attwood, C, Sikweyiya, M. (2013). The influence of environmental variables on the presence of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, at two popular Cape Town bathing beaches. A Generalized Additive Mixed Model. PLoS ONE 8(7): e68554. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068554
- Weltz, K. (2012). The influence of environmental variables on white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) sightings at False Bay beaches. MSc thesis, University of Cape Town.
Read more about a very special shark in False Bay that has been visiting Seal Island since 2003.
- Kock, A. A. (2012). Playing tag with great white sharks. Book Chapter in Shark stories by Al Venter and friends (Protea publishers)
The demography and spatial ecology of the broadnose sevengill shark (Notorynchus cepedianus) in South Africa
- For more info on this project check out our Research Highlights