As summer arrives in Cape Town, so does shark season.

In recent years, awareness of the presence of sharks has grown tremendously, following at least three fatal attacks over the past two decades at Fish Hoek and Noordhoek beach.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Brett Herron, addressed the media ahead of shark season and said, “Shark sightings typically start in late August, and continue through to April, with most sightings being reported mid-summer. With the school holidays around the corner and warmer days ahead, I want to urge Capetonians and visitors to please take extra care when going into the ocean. Shark spotters and the Fish Hoek exclusion net are important safety measures, but the best precaution is to be alert and aware when in the water.

“Use beaches where spotters are on duty, take the time to speak to the spotters on the day you visit the beach, Use their signs to familiarise yourself with the four-flag warning system and warning siren – the green flag indicates that spotting conditions are good; the red flag indicates that there is a high risk of in-shore shark activity; the black flag means spotting conditions are poor; and the white flag with the black shark indicates a shark has been spotted (a siren will sound and all should leave the water immediately).

“Do not swim, surf or surf-ski where trek-netting, 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 surf-ski at night; [and] do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby.”

The recent sightings of large shoals of Yellowtail off the coast of False Bay indicates an increase in Great White activity.

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A shoal of Yellowtail in False Bay (Photography by Jean Tresfon)
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Close-up of a shoal of Yellowtail in False Bay (Photography by Jean Tresfon)


For the beach-loving Capetonian, it is advised to download the SharkSpotters mobile app to access the latest shark safety information, including what flag is flying at each beach, the latest shark sightings, net deployments, and much more. The app is free to download and can be found by searching for the name of the app on the app store.

Photography Wikipedia / Jean Tresfon

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