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Shark Behaviour and Movement

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.

 Sharks on the Urban Edge  


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.

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.

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.

Read more about a very special shark in False Bay that has been visiting Seal Island since 2003.

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