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Increased shark activity with the arrival of spring

    Shark WarningThe City appeals to all beach and ocean users to be aware of the expected increase in in-shore shark activity over the spring and summer months. Typically, shark sightings start in late August, and continue through to April, with most sightings being reported in mid-summer.

    ‘White sharks are present in our waters all year round and beach users should be aware that there is always a small possibility of encountering one of these animals. However, surfers are asked to be especially vigilant in the stretch between Sunrise and Macassar Beaches during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that the shark presence in these waters increases at this time of year.

    ‘Please always remain alert while enjoying the ocean. I thank our City staff and our partner, the Shark Spotters, for all of the hard work that is currently underway to ensure that our residents can enjoy a safer beach experience,’ says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

    The Shark Spotters Information Centre at Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner is open to the public from 08:00 to 18:00 seven days a week. The centre provides up-to-date information on sharks and marine ecology, basic first-aid, general public assistance and emergencies, storage of valuables and lost property.

    In addition, the Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will again be deployed for the annual Fish Hoek Spring Splash on 6 September 2015.

    The exclusion net has proven to be an effective shark safety measure, by creating a physical barrier that prevents sharks from entering the bathing area. It will be in full operation during the 2015/2016 summer season.

    On days that the exclusion net is deployed, the operating hours will be from 09:00 to17:00 and may occasionally be extended to allow for lifesaving training or events. The Shark Spotters will keep beach users informed about the deployment of the net via Twitter and Facebook, and signage is displayed when the net is deployed.

    For more information on the latest shark sightings and research, please visit or follow the Shark Spotters on Twitter (@SharkSpotters) and Facebook (

    Members of the public are encouraged to report any sightings of white sharks to the Shark Spotters.

    The City urges members of the public to familiarise themselves with the following general shark safety tips:

    • Use beaches where Shark Spotters are on duty
    • Take the time to speak to the Shark Spotters on the day you visit the beach
    • Use the Shark Spotters signs to familiarise yourself with the four-flag warning system and warning siren
    • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
    • 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
    • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby
    • Obey beach officials, lifeguards and Shark Spotters if told to leave the water
    • Be aware that the rate of encounters with white sharks rises significantly when the water temperature is warmer (18ºC or higher), and during new moon, due to increased opportunities for feeding
    • If a shark has recently been sighted in an area where no Shark Spotters are present, consider using another beach for the day
    • First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area
    • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea: please consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
    • Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
    • Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches Shark Spotters are present at the following beaches:
      ​Beach ​Summer (October – April) ​Winter
      ​Muizenberg corner ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00 ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00
      ​St James/Kalk Bay ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00 ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00
      ​Fish Hoek ​Mon – Sun, 07:00 – 18:45 ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00
      ​Caves, Kogel Bay ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00 ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 17:00
      ​Noordhoek (The Hoek) ​Mon – Sun, 08:00 – 18:00 (September to May) ​N/A
      ​Clovelly ​Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 10:00 – 17:00 ​N/A
      ​Glencairn ​Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 10:00 – 18:00 ​N/A
      ​Monwabisi ​Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 10:00 – 18:00 ​N/A

      The Fish Hoek exclusion net will be in operation during the 2015/2016 summer season according to the following schedule:


    October 2015 ​School holidays and weekends
    ​November 2015 – March 2016 ​The net will operate on a daily basis, depending on the weather. Weekends, public holidays and school holidays will be prioritised.
    ​April 2016 ​School holidays, public holidays and weekends.

    The exclusion net will not be deployed if weather conditions (wind and swell) are deemed to be unsuitable; this will be assessed on a daily basis. If weather conditions deteriorate over the course of a day when the net is already deployed, the net may be removed as a precautionary measure. Additionally, if there is a high presence of whales or other marine mammals in the area, the net will not be deployed.

    Published by the City of Cape Town.