Great White Sharks are one of the most iconic creatures in the world's oceans. For many years, Mossel Bay has been a popular destination for tourists and researchers seeking to observe and study these magnificent predators up close. However, in the last couple of years, the local Great White Shark population has been affected by the presence of a pod of orcas, also known as killer whales.
The orcas, named “Port and Starboard," passed through the bay a few weeks ago, and their presence had a significant impact on the Great White Shark population. Since then, sightings of Great White Sharks from the cage diving boat have been limited, with the last sightings recorded on the 9th and 10th March 2023.
However, on the 20th March, there was some good news for the local shark tourism industry. A 2-meter Great White Shark made an appearance at the cage diving boat, which was an encouraging sign that the sharks are still present in the area.
On the 22nd March, a local drone pilot spotted six Great White Sharks at Hartenbos, which is a popular beach close to Mossel Bay. However, the sharks did not come to visit the cage diving boat that day. The research company in the bay, Oceans Research, managed to get a small shark around their boat on the same day.
Overall, the recent sightings of Great White Sharks in Mossel Bay have been sporadic. However, the fact that these magnificent creatures are still present in the area is a positive sign. As the weather in the region is expected to turn for the worse with rough seas predicted, it remains to be seen if the sharks will stick around during this time. Nevertheless, the sighting of a Great White Shark on the 20th and 22nd March is a good indication that they haven’t left Mossel Bay completely. The aggregation area is still a great place to see Great White Sharks for those who are willing to go out and look for them.
It's important to remember that Great White Sharks are wild animals and their behaviour is difficult to predict. While the presence of orcas in the area may have caused a temporary disruption in the local shark population there are also other factors affecting the Great White Sharks such as, industrial over fishing, bycatch, long lining, discarded fishing gear, poaching, climate change and many others.