Dr. Andreotti introduces ‘shark safe beaches’ discussion 

Shark Safe Beaches
Published: December 28th, 2022

Bitou Municipality welcomes Dr. Sara Andreotti to Plett as she introduces the ‘shark safe beaches’ discussion to tourists

The Bitou Municipality welcomes Dr. Sara Andreotti and her team in Plett as she introduces the ‘Shark Safe Beaches’ discussion – a talk about white shark behaviour and how to reduce the chance of negative encounters. 

The white shark population around the South African coastline declined rapidly over the past two decades, due to a combination of the use of lethal net and drumlines, climate change, orca presence, overfishing of important food sources and poaching. Nevertheless, some white sharks are still sighted in Plett. What we need to look into are means to find a peaceful way of coexistence between sharks and people.

Following two unfortunate incidents in Plett during winter of 2022, the Bitou Municipality, the Plett Shark Action Group and Plett Tourism (amongst other local organisations), began collaborating with the Cape Town Shark Spotters and SharkSafe Barrier Pty to address the shark-human conflict along the Plett beaches. This is a clear sign that the local community and council are committed to non-lethal options, and that they have the community’s protection at heart, as much as the preservation of their important marine resources.

As part of this ongoing effort, the Bitou Municipality hosted a public event at the Piesang Valley Community Hall, on Thursday the 15th of December, from 6pm to 8pm. Approximately 60 visitors learned more about the newly established shark flag systems from the Plett Shark Spotters and white shark behaviour information from Dr. Sara Andreotti, lecturer from Stellenbosch University and co-founder of SharkSafe Barrier Pty.

This was a unique opportunity to engage directly with shark professionals, a key educational tool with an open conversation about a delicate subject, with first-hand knowledge from the people behind the ideas and methods being proposed to reduce shark-human interactions.

In addition to the presentation, there was an opportunity to purchase marine life photography prints of remarkable ocean encounters Dr. Andreotti has captured in her years of research. 50% of the proceeds for the sale of these framed prints will be donated to the Plett Ocean Smart campaign to support their ongoing eco-friendly shark-management effort with the Plett Shark Spotters. The prints are available for viewing and purchase at the Plett Tourism Office.

Anyone wishing to donate to this initiative to make our beaches and waters safer can do so by mailing their contact information to email address plettoceansmart@gmail.com.

Conservation and preservation of our greatest assets; the ocean, waterways, forests, landmarks and wildlife in Plettenberg Bay, makes an ecologically and economically significant contribution to the town. Sharks, whales, dolphins, and other marine life visit throughout the year – more often during the winter months between May and October. We encourage our residents and visitors to be aware of ocean safety at all times and be respectful of our safety tools and respective to the wildlife that also visit our shores.