Great White Shark Attacks
There are many myths surrounding Great White Shark attacks and Shark Cage diving in South Africa.
Most recently in Betty’s Bay/Kleinmond where a Shark Cage diving operator (not us) was doing a film shoot very close to shore and near surfers when a surfer was attacked by a shark. Clearly this practice is not the norm as there are few sharks in the area and is Not a licensed Shark Cage Diving area.
Hermanus has nine operators of Great White Shark Cage Diving, an eco-tourism industry who’s concern for the conservation of Great White Sharks is paramount.
All Great White Shark Cage Diving operators are licensed and checked regularly. The myth surrounding Great White Shark attacks on swimmers and surfers around the world are now being blamed on the practice of ‘chumming’ which is the act of using fish guts and oils to attract Great White Sharks to the shark cage diving boat in order for tourists on the boat and inside the shark cage to get a better view of these incredible beasts.
The area near Hermanus, Gansbaai where the Great White Shark Diving Tours take place are nowhere near beaches where swimmers or surfers frequent, rather it’s the delectable Cape Fur Seal population that enticed the Great White Shark Diving operators to set up in Gansbaai as this is the natural food source of Great White Sharks
The myth and accusations that the practice of chumming is enticing Great White Sharks closer to the shores and encouraging them to attack humans is unfounded. In Hermanus and Gansbaai there have been no reported attacks of humans by a Great White shark, certainly in the past ten years if not more.
The bay of Hermanus, Walker Bay is a santuary for Whales during the period of July through to january each year and the Shark Cage diving industry, which operates throughout the year is situated off the coast of Gansbaai *(a half an hours drive from Hermanus’ beautiful Blue Flag beaches which stretch for miles and sees thousands of swimmers each year – with NO reported Shark attacks).
This theory of chumming enticing Great White Sharks to attack humans has yet to be proven and can certainly be disproven with the factual evidence of a LACK of Shark attacks in the Hermanus/Gansbaai areas in the past ten years.
The area where the Great White Shark Cage diving industry operates is known as Shark Alley. Shark Alley is teeming with Seals (close to Dyer Island which is a conservation area for Cape Fur Seals – previously clubbed and now protected), Dolphins and other fish which is, in fact, the preferred diet of the Great White Shark.
It stands to reason that should a natural food source of the Great White Shark increase, then so will the number of Great White Sharks – this is, after all, natures way! Should the numbers of Great White Sharks not increase, then the number of Cape Fur Seals in the area will increase to unsustainable numbers.
As with the now protected Great White Sharks – there has clearly been an increase in the number of Great White Sharks since they became a protected species which will, naturally , lead to increase in number of shark attacks as the number of beach goers increases too. Percentage wise, we’re certain that there are no more attacks by Great White Sharks on humans now than there were 10 or even 20 years ago. (population of both taken into account)
So, all these apparent shark attacks and the increase in the number of shark cage diving operators has led people to believe that chumming during a Shark Cage diving tour will increase the number of shark attacks on humans…. it is a mystery how slopping fish guts around in the water will entice Great White Sharks to attack a human?
It has been bandied about that the movement emulates that of a surfer… well, it was designed to emulate the movement of a seal… and not a human. It is not the fault of the Shark Cage Diving industry that a surfers movements in the water emulate that of a seal.
The final point is that there were plenty of Great White Shark attacks on humans long before Shark Cage Diving industry was founded in South Africa or anywhere else in the world.
If you wish to find out the facts about Shark Cage Diving, the Great White Shark Cage diving industry and Great White Shark conservation, then perhaps it’s best to visit the capital of Great White Shark Cage diving in Hermanus and experience it first hand. Then you will be in a position to make an educated judgement of the situation without speculation or rumour mongering about the possibilities and postulating about an eco-tourism industry which does no harm to any life form, nor does it encourage any animal to harm any humans.