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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 Dyer Island Conservation Trust

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The Cape Fur Seal

Regular studies on the Cape Fur seal population on Geyser Rock have been supported; from tagging to assess the distances they travel for feeding, to collecting  scat samples to study their diet.

There is the threat of a nuclear power station being set up just 20km’s from Dyer Island and the Trust is involved with a petition to prevent this. The letter of concerns based on the Environmental Impact Report can be viewed on the website. This has prompted the urgency for completion of studies in the area, to fully understand the impacts and advise accordingly.

Community

Community involvement is broad and the Trust believes in education, especially of the youth. As such, the Trust supports the eco-schools co-ordinator for the Gansbaai area; and works closely with schools and organisations such as the Football Foundation doing educational lessons and beach clean-ups.  Dyer Island Cruises initiated the Clean Marine project which supports recycling. Beach clean-ups are arranged with local schools as part of their curriculum and statistics recorded for the Ocean Conservancy which goes into an international database. The Trust also participates in festivals which provide a platform for education about the animals and marine pollution.

Unique fishing line bin disposal units have been set up along the immediate coast together with the Overstrand Municipality . This project has been set up on the website to raise funds due to the cost involved in making and setting up the bins. This project was recognised by WESSA and the Blue Flag beach programme and as such has been spread to the 27 beaches involved nationally.
 
Initially through Dyer Island Cruises and now under the Trust’s banner, a craft project called Nolwandle Crafts was set up in 2006 with a sponsorship from the British High Commission and matched by Dyer Island Cruises. All material and training was provided to 24 women from the local township.  Their products are sold through the curio shop.

Funding

Projects that are actively funded by clients of the businesses are penguin conservation and shark research.  All donors are listed on the web and receive a certificate of support. This is also available through the Trust website and can be purchased as a gift.  Just an idea of costs for research: shark tags are in the region of R6 000 each and penguin loggers are R25 000. One can also support the fishing line bin project and help towards education of marine pollution by buying these dedicated bins at R350 each.

You can support the following projects via the web:
Penguin homes - R400
Block of sea for shark research – R150
Fishing Line Bin – R350