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White Shark spotted: Cape Town residents urged to remain cautious

Shark spotters have sent out a warning to Cape Town residents after a White Shark sighting in Macassar over the weekend.


Image via Adobe Stock

Shark spotters have urged Cape Town residents to remain vigilant during the summer season. This, after a white shark sighting, was made at Macassar over the weekend.  

While overall white shark activity in False Bay remains low, the spotter’s programme said beach-goers should know that there is always the possibility of encountering a predator in the ocean around Cape Town. 


On Monday 14 December 2020, spotters took to social media regarding recent sightings. 

“We have spotted multiple large bronze whaler sharks at Shark Spotters beaches in the past week and there have been confirmed reports of a small white shark sighting at Macassar over the weekend,” it said. 

“Sporadic white sharks sightings such as this highlight the importance of exercising caution when swimming, surfing or paddling in False Bay,” it added. 


Shark spotters said water users have been engaging in increasingly risky behaviour in False Bay over the past few years due to the low activity. 

“We urge people to act more responsibly in the ocean and to learn simple safety tips that will help them to reduce the risk of encountering a shark close to shore,” it said.

Despite the odds being low that one will encounter a white shark while surfing, diving or swimming, any marine recreation activity along South Africa’s coastline carries the risk of an unplanned encounter.

A list of basic principles have been provided that if followed will not only decrease one’s chances of encountering the predator but increase the odds of a safe ending for both shark and humans, should one ever meet the world’s largest predatory fish.

  1. If you are not fully aware of all of the risks of bathing in the ocean and are not prepared to take these risks, do not go into the ocean;
  2. White sharks, like all predators, are more likely to identify a solitary individual as potential prey, so try to remain in a group;
  3. They are primarily visual hunters which would normally allow them to correctly distinguish you from their preferred prey species. Therefore, avoid entering the ocean when it is murky, during darkness or twilight hours when they rely on their other senses to locate potential prey rather than their vision;
  4. When encountering them, remain as calm as you can. Assess the situation. Do not panic! Panicked, erratic movements are likely to increase the shark’s curiosity, draw it closer to you and possibly send signals similar to an injured or distressed prey. Use any equipment (camera, surfboard, etc.) you may be carrying to create a barrier between yourself and the predator; and 
  5. If you see one, calmly alert other ocean users around you. Remain in or create a group, and leave the water in a calm and swift, but smooth, manner. Alert the lifeguards or shark spotters.