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  • In Gansbaai, the largest white shark ever caught was at Danger Point and measured up to 5.9m. The exact world record white shark is a contested issue, but chances are it is between 6-7m.

  • If you see a white shark in the water don’t panic. Chances are high that the shark has already detected you and isn’t interested. White shark attacks are normally associated with poor visibility, so avoid murky conditions.

  • White sharks have a unique system called a “counter current heat exchange”, which keeps their body  tempreture +/- 7C above the surrounding water temperature. 

  • All sharks have an incredibly unique system on the tip of their nose called the “ampillae of Lorenzini”. These are small pores filled with a gel that transmits the electrical currents in the water to the shark’s brain so that it can assess its environment.

  • White sharks give birth to live young (not eggs), and they give birth to 6-8 pups at one time. Pups are usually between 1.0-1.5m in length and are born with teeth.

  • Body language has been a well documented form of shark communication and has identified body arching, jaw gaping, and other postures as specific social tactics.

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The Legend, Slashfin, returns... and is tagged!

Friday, February 24, 2012 |  1 Comment Tags: research, shark cage diving, Slashfin, tagging,

Author: Marine Dynamics (Shark Cage Diving Company)
Marine Dynamics is a Shark Cage Diving company based in Kleinbaai, a small harbour town, part of Gansbaai in the Western Cape of South Africa. This area is known as a hotspot for the Great White Shark and the best place in the world to see and dive with these iconic creatures in their natural environment.

Marine Dynamics and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust are excited to announce that legendary shark “Slashfin” has been spotted again, and better yet, tagged.  

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw such a massive shark swimming past Lwazi, and that it was Slashfin was a huge bonus,” said Marine Dynamics marine biologist and resident DICT scientist Oliver Jewell“I have always wanted to tag Slashfin and this was my big chance!" 

Slashfin is what we consider a “regular shark" that returns year after year and utilizes the same hunting areas.  However, Slashfin had not been spotted since 2010 World Cup and we began to fear the worst.  “It’s depressing when a shark that you know comes every year doesn’t turn up,” Oliver explains. “The reality is, these sharks are fished and can be caught in shark nets, so you never know when will be the last time you see them.”

slashfin tagged shark

Luckily this was not the case.  Not only is Slashfin back, but he’s massive and hungry, topping out anywhere from 4.0-4.5m in length and with more predations being recorded in Shark Alley than in previous months.  “This is supposed to be the ‘low risk’ part of the year for the seals when they can get away with being more relaxed,” explains Michelle Wcisel, DICT animal behaviour researcher. “Already you can see the seals are definitely changing their behaviour.  I would too if I saw Slashfin in the water!”

It’s this dominance that inspired Marine Dynamics owner, Wilfred Chivell, to name the company’s new purpose-built cage diving vessel after SlashfinSlashfin the shark met Slashfin the vessel this past week, with one slow pass - enough to make everyone excited on board!



So far, Slashfin is teaching us more about how “experienced” sharks hunt in the area.  Since he’s a regular, he knows the areas that work best for catching seals under the best conditions.  Compare it to moving into a new neighbourhood and trying to find the best restaurant.  The first few months, you try everywhere, but the more time you stay the more you become selective and only go back to your favourite places.

To keep up to date on Slashfin’s movements and our tracking program in general, you can “Like” us on facebook.  If you are interested in donating towards our tagging program, please visit the Dyer Island Conservation Trust homepage to find out how.  Or, you can come for a once in a lifetime experience on Slashfin for a dive with one of the most magnificent animals alive!

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