Learn more about sharks right on beach

2015-06-09 06:00
The Shark Spotters are in the process of turning their new home at Surfers Corner into an information centre.

The Shark Spotters are in the process of turning their new home at Surfers Corner into an information centre.

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The Shark Spotters have thrown open the doors of their new home, inviting the public to come learn more about their work.

After working from huts at the Muizenberg beach, the organisation moved into one of the buildings at the beach in November.

“We needed a base,” says project manager Sarah Waries. “We didn’t have a place where people could see the programme.”

Shark Spotting is a pioneering shark safety programme that seeks a solution for potential conflicts between sharks and people.

Adopted by the City of Cape Town in 2004 in response to a spate of shark bite incidents and increased shark sightings, Shark Spotting is the primary shark safety programme used in Cape Town.

The Shark Spotters improve beach safety through both shark warnings and emergency assistance in the event of a shark incident. They contribute to research on shark ecology and behaviour, raise public awareness and provide employment opportunities and skills development for the spotters.

Not only does the building provide office space, but the Shark Spotters also run an information centre from the building where they teach beachgoers about sharks, ocean conservation and sea safety, Waries says.

“This also allows people to interact with the spotters,” she says.

The organisation is finishing murals along the centre’s walls, which will have infographics added to them, breaking down details on the Shark Spotters’ research and work. These will run on both the inside and outside of the building, Waries says.

Interactive displays will also be added, which will allow the public to see tools of the trade, such as the tags used to identify and track sharks.

The new building has allowed the Shark Spotters to expand their capacity, says Waries. They are now able to accept interns and train shark spotters, as well as engage with the 30 spotters working on the project.

“It’s been a huge boost for the programme on a number of levels. The Shark Spotters have a home now.”V

Visit the information centre at Surfers Corner on Beach Road or www.sharkspotters.org.za

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