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Identifying Seal Island’s Great White Sharks

written by Jimi Partington

A shark fin around Seal Island, False Bay

Posted on Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Currently underway aboard Apex Shark Expeditions’ White pointer II is a ID project to document as many sharks seen at the boat as possible during the season. This is the start of an on-going study of the numbers and individual animals visiting Seal Island at this time of year.

Our crew member Jimi Partington, is conducting the study and we want you as guests to help get involved during your expeditions with us!

Here is how the project works :


What it is 

The Apex Photo ID Project is run by crew member Jimi Partington, documenting individual sharks seen in False Bay over the course of the seasons. By using photos and creating a definitive catalogue of the sharks seen here will help gain a better understanding of the numbers of animals visiting the Island each year and enable us to learn more about their behaviour and migratory patterns.


How it works

By using photographs to identify key areas (pigment patterns on gill flaps, pelvic and caudal fins) as well as dorsal fin identification we are able to gain a comprehensive study on specific individuals seen each year. Once identified, sharks are catalogued by name, size, sex and years identified at Seal Island.


Why it’s beneficial

The data we collect from this helps to not only track individual sharks but also monitor the status of the overall False Bay White shark population, and calculate an index of abundance to determine if the population is increasing, decreasing or stable. This is important data in White shark management and conservation.


How you can help

You can help with our study by taking as many ID photos as possible during your time on board with us. Especially important are photos of dorsal fins and underwater stills of key areas. If you would like to contribute your photos to the study, please send them along with your name, email address to sharky1@mweb.co.za


If your picture ends up being the one chosen for the database you will have the chance of naming that shark!


Great White Shark, Seal Island - False Bay

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