Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Spring migration time for the Great White sharks

It was another dramatic day for beach-goers at Fish Hoek, Western Cape, on Thursday when a huge great white shark, measuring about 4,5 metres, was spotted off the beach. After being forced to leave the water at about 8:30am, bathers were eventually allowed back in at around 3pm, said Yvonne Kamp, co-ordinator of the shark spotters who look for sharks from vantage points at designated beaches. "When the siren sounded people quickly left the water. Everyone seems to be used to the drill by now," said Kamp.
'We are asking that people be more alert'The great white shark spring migration has begun, say the experts who have warned bathers to be more cautious.Researchers rushed to try to tag the shark in Fish Hoek bay Thursday but were unsuccessful.

Law enforcement officials controlled watching crowds and made sure nobody entered the water. Shark spotters have been kept on their toes for the past few days in anticipation of the shark migration to the inshore parts of False Bay. The sharks are moving away from Seal Island into shallow areas around the coast, according to data collected by shark spotters and researchers.

Sharks have been sighted just off the coast at Muizenberg, St James and Fish Hoek since last Friday. There was a sighting on Wednesday at Fish Hoek and another at St James.The sharks' inshore activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks.Gregg Oelofse, environmental officer of the Cape Town City Council and member of the Shark Working Group, said that fortunately visibility had been good on Thursday."We are asking that people be more alert and take notice of the flags," said Oelofse.

A green flag means the beach is open and swimmers can have a dip and a black flag indicates poor visibility for spotters. A red flag indicates that bathers should be cautious because a shark has been spotted nearby. A white flag with a black shark indicates a danger zone and bathers should leave the water immediately.


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