Cape Town Shark Project M-Sea Programme

Cape Town Shark Project

This research project was a partnership between AfriOceans and WESSA that was established to monitor the effectiveness of the Shark Exclusion Net which was trialed in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, to promote shark conservation, education & awareness and use the lessons learnt in developing shark protocols for South Africa’s Blue flag beaches.

Objectives of the Cape Town Shark Project

1.To monitor how and if the Shark Exclusion Net would have an impact on marine life.

2.To promote awareness and education about the importance of sharks, encouraging shark safety whilst highlighting the difference between the KZN Shark Nets and the Fish     Hoek Shark Exclusion Net.

3.To monitor and record the ecotourism value in finding sustainable solutions that are not harmful to sharks or other marine life.

Results from the Cape Town Shark Project

In coming to an overall assessment of the impact of the Shark Exclusion Net, the project team looked at:

1. The impact of the exclusion net on shark behavior as well as its impact on any other marine life.

2. The impact on bather’s perceptions about Fish Hoek as a safer bathing destination as a result of the deployment of the Shark Exclusion Net.

With ref. to 1, as a result of independently monitoring the Shark Exclusion net deployment and retrieval 82 times over the project duration and observing shark visits 37 times, the Project Team is satisfied that the design of the net and the method of deployment and retrieval had minimal impact either on the visiting white sharks or on the marine life.

With ref. to 2, after independently monitoring Fish Hoek beach over 127 visits, the Project Team is satisfied that the deployment of the net had a considerable positive impact on bather’s perceptions as a safe bathing destination.

In Conclusion, the Project Team believes the trial period of the deployment of the Fish Hoek Shark Exclusion Net was very successful and the net has proved itself as an effective barrier in keeping bathers and water users separate from sharks, whilst having no perceivable impact on the marine life or on activities at the beach, including trek netting.

The Project Team wishes to congratulate the City of Cape Town and Shark Spotters on the successful trialing of the Fish Hoek Shark Exclusion Net and believes that ecologically safe alternatives to gill nets and Drumlines like the Fish Hoek Shark Exclusion Net should be actively pursued by the KZN Sharks Board along the South African coastline as a matter of urgency.

Rethink the Shark