Shark Spotters SA: Keeping Beaches Safe
Monwabisi Sikweyiya is a regular South African who decided to do a courageous thing and act when a shark attacked a swimmer off Clovelly Beach.
Rushing into the water, Sikiya got the victim to safety and used his belt as a tourniquet on the severed leg of the victim. Sikiya’s quick thinking saved a life, and changed his career. He is now the Fish Hoek Team Supervisor of Shark Spotters South Africa, who also have a branch in Muizenberg.
Here he speaks about what made him act and what Shark Spotters do to protect beach goers from shark attacks:
"As the spotter you rely heavily on spotting conditions; clear skies, clear water, the colour of water as well."— Monwabisi Sikweyiya
"In the beginning, back in 2004, most of us knew very little about shark behaviour in False Bay, and we came a long way. Obviously now the public is very supportive and it is just from time to time that we get one or two people who are arrogant or ignorant and ignore our calls."— Monwabisi Sikweyiya
Some advice from Monwabisi is to always pay attention to the flags that are on the beach which will alert beach goers to shark activity in the area.
"90% of shark sightings happen while the black flag is flying, you have the green flag that means good spotting conditions, you have the the red flag that means high shark alert...then you have the white flag with the black shark on it which means it is a no-go, there is a shark in the area, and the beach is closed at the same time."— Monwabisi Sikweyiya
The Shark Spotting Programme is the only program of its kind in the world.
It attempts to balance the needs of both people and white shark conservation by pro-actively reducing the interaction and conflict between recreational water users and sharks. Cape Town has, over the last few years, experienced an increase in the number of great white sharks sighted in the in-shore zone. In response to these events and the increased fear by water users, particularly in False Bay, two community driven programmes were started out of a need to improve the safety of recreational water users.
Find out more about Shark Spotters SA here!