Increased shark spotting in Cape Town

The city of Cape Town is considering plans to increase its shark spotting programme to include the Kogel Bay area after a great white shark killed a South African body-boarder there recently. The incident took place on 19 April at a popular surfing area known as Caves, a small cove between Rooi Els and Gordon’s Bay, in the south-eastern suburbs of Cape Town.

If the project is approved, a permanent shark spotter would be based on the mountain overlooking the sea at Caves from 08.00 to 18.00 for one year, after which authorities would assess whether it was necessary to employ spotters in the winter.

In 2006 a trial shark spotting programme was initiated in the area but was suspended due to lack of public transport access for the spotters.

The city's environmental department has procedures in place for the ongoing training of shark spotters, who are stationed at six Cape Town beaches.

There are four permanent programmes at Muizenberg, St James-Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Noordhoek; and between October and April, at busy times like weekends and holidays, shark spotters operate at Clovelly and Glencairn beaches.

The programme costs Cape Town over R1m annually, with funding coming largely from the city as well as donations. There have been suggestions that a levy be added to membership fees of surfing or body-boarding clubs to help cover the cost of running the programme.