When I mention that I surf, I would always be asked: “Aren’t you scared of Sharks?” Funny enough, I’m not, although I have not yet had an encounter, I have a deep respect for these ancient creatures that roam our oceans. This is shy I approached Shark Spotters as they also have an appreciation and respect and try to make encounters between humans and sharks as little as possible.
I connected with SarahWaries and she was very happy about my proposal as they had a team building coming up and have not been able to grab a decent group picture of this energetic team. We met on Fish hoek beach and I was treated to many laughs, smiles and jumps.
Where did it all start?
Back in 2004, Shark Spotters was created because of the need to protect our swimmers from the odd shark attack. At that point, there had been a few bite incidents and shark spottings at various beaches, mostly the Muizenberg side of our peninsula.
How does Shark Spotters work?
Shark Spotters supplies innovative and responsible shark safety solutions so to reduce the interaction between sharks and people. They are very aware that the waters are in fact home to the sharks, and without disturbing this environment, they have found safe ways to keep borders between us and them.
They also try to raise the awareness around sharks, their behavior, their ecology, safety and conservation issues, and they are big on providing employment opportunities.
Through either actual shark spotters, who are positioned in prime spots, they are able to report back using walkie-talkies to other spotters on the beach whether there is a concern or safety risk. They use a 4 flag system, which indicates the level of risk.
They also have marked out exclusion zones in the Fishhoek area, where they have installed exclusion nets, which prevent the sharks from entering a beach area. The nets are designed so they have minimal environmental impact and are adaptable to changing weather conditions.
Who is behind Shark Spotters?
To date, Shark Spotters consists of 30 shark spotters and 10 exclusion net crew. They all are from previously disadvantage communities. Through the Shark Spotters initiative, these amazing people receive extensive training.
As they are a registered non-profit organisation, they do rely heavily on donations, whether it be in the way of actual cash, volunteering, or donations of product, or purchases through their online shop.
If you're keen to get involved or donate, please reach out to them here https://sharkspotters.org.za/