The City of Cape Town-funded Shark Spotters Programme has been awarded the Gold – Innovation Award in the Best for Beach Tourism Category at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016, held on Thursday 7 April 2016.
Judges were looking for organisations that showed leadership in responsible tourism policies and practices in a beach setting, positive integration and relationships with local communities, and proven achievements in maintaining and conserving beach environments.
The Shark Spotters Programme contributes to responsible tourism in Cape Town through its combination of shark safety, cutting-edge research, public education, and community upliftment in order to protect and improve people’s beach experience in areas with a high spatial overlap between people and sharks.
‘The City of Cape Town is proud to partner with Sharks Spotters. We are very pleased that they have been acknowledged for their valuable and innovative efforts in responsible beach tourism, including the implementation of the shark exclusion net, which benefits our beach-goers”, said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.
The judges said: ‘Shark Spotters’ solution to safe beaches removes the fear factor from enjoying Cape Town’s beaches, while working to protect sharks, particularly the Great White Shark – a globally threatened species. This pioneering and innovative approach netted a Gold Award. Spotters positioned on the mountainsides surrounding swimming beaches look out for sharks near the shore and use a series of flags as a warning system. Community members benefit from employment and skills development, and beachgoers get to learn about sharks and ecology.’
Sarah Waries, Project Manager of Shark Spotters, said they were delighted to win this award and receive this recognition for their work towards sustainable shark bite mitigation in Cape Town.