Recent media reports highlighting the absence of great white sharks in False Bay has resulted in much confusion for shark cage diving tourists to South Africa and the tourism industry at large.
On arriving at the scene the Dyer Island Conservation Trust’s (DICT) research team met local shark boat skipper Phillip Colyn and other volunteers from White Shark Diving Company who had been trying to revive the shark. One last attempt was made by the team to irrigate the shark’s gills by wading with it in waist deep water but unfortunately despite all efforts the shark died. The shark was then taken to the nearest sandy beach, wrapped in fishing net and loaded onto the Trust’s marine stranding bakkie.
After communication with the Department of Environmental Affairs officials, the decision was made to bring the shark carcass back to the International Marine Volunteer (IMV) facility in Kleinbaai. The following day, DEA scientists collected the white shark and took it to be stored for dissection by the White Shark Research Group (WSRG) and government scientists within the next week. The Trust’s enviro kids club were able to see the shark before it was collected and assisted in taking external measurements which was a very unique and educational opportunity for them.
“Local members of the community assisted with the loading of the shark which was much appreciated as the weight of this shark could be around 170kgs,” said Alison Towner from DICT. “As is always the case with this iconic species, many people have opinions on the matter, but the national scientists and government will perform the dissection and look for reasons behind the mortality. For now, the cause of mortality is unknown. The external examination revealed that the shark had no obvious injuries or fishing gear apparent. The stomach was however very bloated. We can confirm the shark was a 2,7m (total length) adolescent male” said Towner.
The shark dissection is pending.