Copper Sharks and vanishing Great Whites

Copper Shark approaches the cage in Gansbaai

Want to go shark diving and only want to see the great white? Forget about it. In my opinion, after being involved in this industry for nearly two decades now, seeing great white will soon be something to celebrate.

In our previous blog, we mentioned the two forerunners in Great White Shark research:  Michael Rutzen and Dr Sara Andreotti.

In the research they did between 2009 and 2014, they calculated that there were only between 353 and 522 Great White Sharks still in existence along the SA coastline.

The Great White was in danger already. Roll on 2021.

In Gansbaai, we had one Great White in July of this year. The stars have been our Copper Sharks. Also known as the Narrowtooth Shark, and the Bronze Whaler. They are frequently on our coastlines. It enjoys the SA waters, a comfortable 12 degrees Celcius on an average day.

Why the bronze description? Well,  between its dorsal fins, it has a bronze ridge. As far as the tooth description is concerned simply because the teeth are sharp hooked and narrow.
And Sadly, because of Copper tinting, out of the water, the drying flesh will start to reflect Copper hues in the sun. Size-wise? Reaching 3.3 m (11 ft) long, I would hardly think of them as small.

This species may come second best as a tourism attraction but believe those in the know: They deliver a much better day out than the ego-driven Great White shark. They are commonly social hunters and it is quite common to see packs of them, near our boats.

Ok.  It’s your dying wish to be in a cage with a Great White. Gansbaai is the location of choice, however, Falsebay was known for Great White breaching until…2018. Then a total disappearing act. This was of huge concern to all of us, very sad. Blame put on gill nets and drumlines, the fisherman, overfishing of our waters and of course, climate change. And my personal passion, pollution.

Did you know that Great Whites only reach sexual maturity at about 26 years of age, and for that matter, Copper sharks not lagging at 20 – 24 years old. How many of them make it to this point? Do you see the problem?

Join us for a shark cage dive in Gansbaai before it is too late.

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