Applied Research

Published: 02 September 2021
Last edited: 02 September 2021

Our ground-breaking applied research is focused on shark presence and behavioural ecology in Cape Town to inform public safety policy, conservation and management strategies and education and awareness. We drive an adaptive management approach to human-shark conflict which is responsive to conflict and proactive in using research and best practices. Shark Spotters also collates shark bite information and respond to all local incidents to collect factual and objective information.

We have published our results in multiple peer-reviewed journals (see attached) and presented at numerous scientific conferences.

Following the covid-19 pandemic, it has become even more imperative that we understand the negative impacts we are having on our environment to mitigate these timeously before they escalate into large, global issues. Our research focus is therefore shifting to not only understand the behaviour and distribution of sharks in our bay, but also to look at the role they play in maintaining ecosystem structure and resilience, and how human impacts, as well as environmental changes, influence this. We can then target our conservation strategies to ensure that the marine environment can continue to provide important ecosystem services that will help protect us from future pandemics or environmental disasters. 


Alliance and partnership development
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Documentation and dissemination of results

Enabling factors

Strong partnerships with academic institutions to ensure rigourous scientific protocols and procedures are followed.

Adequate funding for long term ecological monitoring.

Adaptive management approach - focusing on areas lacking adequate information and ensuring research priorities are relevant to a changing and dynamic ocean ecosystem as well as changing human needs.

Lessons learned

The importance of disseminating information as quickly as possible, both for the conservation of threatened apex predators as well as for inclusion in public safety protocols and management.

The need for inter-disciplinary research and collaboration to understand the multiple interrelated aspects of marine ecology and conservation, and in order to identify issues and find solutions timeously.

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