Author Archive

City of Cape Town issues alert after possible great white sighting at Clifton Second Beach

Alison Kock has just informed Clifton Shark Files that the City of Cape Town has issued a strong alert warning to bathers to exercise caution after possible great white sightings along the Atlantic seaboard at Clifton Second Beach by the Camps Bay police department via an unidentified witness.

“Apparently a member of the public took the photograph with their phone and showed it to one of the policeman who confirmed it was a shark,” said Alison.

Unfortunately, they did not record the person’s details and Alison is unable to confirm whether it was a great white.

She has asked Clifton Shark Files to appeal to the public to come forward with the person’s name or details to help get a copy of the photograph and allow her and the Save Our Seas organization to confirm the type of shark.

Please contact us here or at [email protected], if you have any information for Alison and her team that may shed more light on the species. Alternatively, please contact Alison Kock directly at [email protected]

These photographs are essential to minimize public alarm and contribute to further information on the behavior of shark species on the Atlantic seaboard, which is currently under-researched, mainly due to funding reasons.

“We have in the meantime issued the following caution due to high shark activity in Cape Town:,” said Alison.

Clifton Shark Files has written extensively on the previous sightings and bites at Clifton during the 1970s, the last time an incident occurred.

While attention has been perennially focused on the great whites of False Bay, the Atlantic side remains largely a mystery.

These are some common sense rules to follow when using the ocean:

• Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
• 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 near where trek-netting, fishing or spear fishing is taking place
• Do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night
• 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, life guards or locals about the area
• Obey beach officials if asked to leave the water
• For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea, paddle in groups and stay close together (in a diamond shape)
• Consider using a personal shark shield when surfing or kayaking
• Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches

The City will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available and beach users are encouraged to visit and for further information.

Recent sightings at Noordhoek beach

Alison Kock also updated Clifton Shark Files on recent sightings elsewhere on the Atlantic seaboard.

“We did have a white shark sighting a few days ago by a shark spotter at Noordhoek. We update the shark spotters website automatically with new sightings by shark spotters and sms’s are sent to various stakeholder agencies such as NSRI, disaster management etc as the sightings happen,” said Alison.

The Seasonal Shift Theory

The content portal website, Helium, has published another article on the great white referencing the seasonal shift theory put forward in a introductory feature article on this site.

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The Great White ‘Mean Season’ of 1976

Associated Content has published another article on the 1976 ‘Mean Season’ highlighting two theories that were dominant during this period: The ‘foodstock shortage theory’ and the ‘coldwater theory.’
It is interesting to note that the ‘coldwater’ theory is still adhered to by many Capetonians probably because there are so few sightings or bites in the Atlantic Zone between Table Bay and Llandudno.
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Gansbaai shark attack: Did the Telegraph get it wrong?

The British Telegraph newspaper, like many others, suggested that the fatal great white attack on a perlemoen diver in Gansbaai recently might be the result of commercial shark cage diving that assists in attracting great whites closer to shore.

“In recent years some experts have warned the increase in commercial “shark dive tourism” has encouraged great whites to inhabit shallower waters,” said The Telegraph.

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Great whites “carefully” devour whale carcass in False Bay

Alison Kock and her shark research team have just finished a nine-day experiment in which 30 great whites were studied tearing apart a 36ft Brydes whale that had been towed away from the False Bay shoreline to protect bathers.

But ‘tearing up’ is perhaps not the right term.

Instead, the sharks used their razor-sharp teeth like cutlery to precisely cut out the ‘softer’ portions of the carcass, while virtually ignoring the hard carcass.

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Podcast: Peter Basford’s clash with a great white on Nov 3, 1976

1976 Great White Encounter: Fourth Beach, Cliftion. Interview with Peter Basford, spearfisherman from Clifton Shark Files Reporter on Vimeo.

On November 3, 1976, Peter Basford clashed with a great white off Fourth Beach, leaving him visibly shaken. Little did he know that several weeks later Geoffrey Kirkham Spence would be bitten by a great white in almost the same location. His friend Nic de Kock remembers Peter shouting out that day: “It’s the same shark, it’s the same shark.”

Not many Capetonians are aware that Basford faced a great white earlier that month. This is his untold story….

Join us on Facebook!

Join us on facebook. We we will be featuring discussion forums, new image galleries and links to important sites. We also encourage all those present at the ’76 bite to ‘like’ the facebook page from your profile.

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THOMAS P. PESCHAK: “South Africa’s Great White Shark”

For the Save our Seas Foundation Thomas photographs primarily shark and ray research and conservation projects all around the world and is probably best known for his image of a great white shark following a researcher in a small yellow kayak.
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Save Our Seas Shark Center

The Save Our Seas Shark Centre has been an unprecedented success story. Alison Kock and her team of fellow researchers and collaborators continue to provide the only source of scientific information on white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) activity and behaviour patterns from their population in Cape Town, South Africa.

Rethink the Shark from Save Our Seas Foundation on Vimeo.

Shark Store

If you have an interest in books, movies or posters relating to the great white you will find them here. A number of products listed are mentioned or referenced in the articles, essays or podcasts published on this site.

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