19 December 2023
Building on the success of last year's collaboration, Sanlam aims to enhance shark safety efforts during the December and January period, to help ensure a secure and enjoyable festive season for locals and visitors alike.
Paul Hanratty, CEO of Sanlam, says, “Sustainability remains a key imperative for Sanlam, and the shark spotting approach aligns seamlessly with our ongoing commitment to environmental responsibility. By fostering a culture of sustainability and respect for marine species and their habitats, Shark Spotters helps keep local beaches open and safe, contributing to the economic wellbeing of the community.
“As a Group, Sanlam’s mission is to empower all Africans to be financially confident, secure, and prosperous. Protecting our planet, now and for generations to come, is a pivotal part of this. Humanity’s wealth is dependent on the enduring richness of our natural habitats. Sharks are an integral part of these ecosystems and key to our local visitor economy as well. We commend Shark Spotters on the critical work they do. We’re proud to be part of it.”
The Bitou Municipality and the Plett Shark Action Group, in partnership with the renowned Cape Town-based organisation, Shark Spotters, are implementing robust shark safety measures in Plettenberg Bay. Unlike traditional mitigation methods, Shark Spotters takes a proactive, non-harmful approach, offering a sustainable solution that prioritises the safety of both beachgoers and marine life.
In its first year of operation, Plett Shark Spotters played a pivotal part in protecting beachgoers, with 73 Great White shark sightings, and over 200 Bronze Whaler sharks spotted in its 16,000 hours on duty. It also reached over 1,000 people in educational awareness activities and created employment for 14 people from local, under-resourced communities.
The Western Cape remains a global pioneer in shark spotting, a practice initiated in Cape Town in the early 2000s. Following recent incidents in Plettenberg Bay, increased safety measures are essential, especially during the holiday season, a crucial driver for the local economy.
Sarah Waries, CEO of Shark Spotters, emphasised the economic impact of shark bite incidents on local businesses. "Fear for safety leaves visitors reluctant to partake in recreational activities, hindering the growth of small businesses that contribute significantly to our local economy. Our commitment to economic growth in South Africa extends to safeguarding our beaches in a sustainable manner, benefiting both local businesses and the marine environment."
Plett Shark Spotters not only enhances safety but also creates jobs and skills development opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged areas of Plettenberg Bay. Employing and upskilling over 14 spotters contributes to financial growth and confidence in the local community.
Additionally, the organisation plays a crucial role through its research and adoption of emerging technologies to mitigate negative shark interactions, alongside its educational awareness campaigns to shift the public perception of sharks. These centre around an engaging school programme and ongoing beach awareness days. These will continue to be a core focus for the group in 2024.
Waries expressed gratitude for Sanlam's continued support, stating, "Sanlam's backing of Plett Shark Spotters is a perfect alignment of progressive organisations collaborating for lasting, sustainable solutions that benefit both people and the planet. We look forward to working together to make a tangible contribution to social and environmental upliftment in Plettenberg Bay and South Africa as a nation."
To learn more about Shark Spotters or contribute to this vital initiative, visit their