Cape beaches on shark alert

2012-10-08 08:18
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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has warned beach users of increased shark movement in the coming summer months. This follows reports of a 30m southern right whale carcass that has been spotted offshore near Capricorn beach in Cape Town.

"The whale carcass is approximately three kilometres past Sunrise Circle after Capricorn beach and can been seen from Baden Powell Drive," said city disaster risk management spokesperson Wilfred Solomons-Johannes.

"It has been established that the whale has been bitten several times by Great White sharks, and the bay is covered in a lot of blood and pieces of blubber are afloat at sea."

He said the city has ordered the shoreline between Muizenberg and Monwabisi beaches be closed to the general public as a precautionary measure.

"The shark spotters are constantly monitoring any sightings of sharks along the False Bay coastline. The City is appealing to all water users to be vigilant at this time, obey the shark siren, and to take note of the shark spotters' flags and signage for regular updates on shark sightings."

He said the rapid response teams would attempt to recover the carcass at first daylight on Monday. "Beach users are advised that the general caution will remain in place until further notice," he said.

According to City of Cape Town spokesperson Gregg Oelofse,  this is the time of year when a seasonal increase was expected in shark activity inshore.

In a statement, he said this seasonal change was not unique to False Bay.

"Similar trends are recorded in Gansbaai, Mossel Bay and California - all areas that white sharks are known to frequent."

He said sightings by Shark Spotters had consistently shown increased activity from September to April, peaking in mid-summer.

"White sharks are present in the Cape's waters all year round, and the possibility of encountering one of these animals at any time is minimal. However, beach users should always remain vigilant."
Kayakers and surf-skiers were asked to be cautious between Sunnycove and Glencairn Beach, and swimmers were urged not to enter the water off Jaegers Walk, in Fish Hoek, as this was considered a high-risk area.


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