Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe, flock to South Africa to experience the wonder of shark cage diving. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for extreme sport thrill seekers. There are a plethora of diving packages available, including week-long holiday packages and all-day diving trips – whatever you package you choose, you will not be disappointed. However, there is a serious problem that needs to be rectified – over 100 species of sharks have been classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The most endangered appear on what is known as the Red List.
Many, such as the Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) have been classified as “vulnerable”, while the Bizant River shark is “critically endangered” since 2001.
According to, the “International Action Plan for Sharks” initiated by CITES and the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) have established that:
More than 100 out of 400 shark species are being commercially exploited
Many of these shark species are so overexploited that even their long-term survival can no longer be guaranteed
A serious monitoring and control programme is lacking for international shark trade.
Save South Africa’s Sharks (SSAS) is an organisation that is dedicated to preserving the endangered shark species. Their mission statement boldly says, “Our aim [is] to stop the senseless slaughter of South Africa’s sharks […] South Africa is considered a shark diving mecca as it has one of the last reasonable populations of sharks left in the world, but not for long: SA Government is allowing foreign vessels to fish for sharks in joint ventures with South African tuna and swordfish permit holders [and] anglers in South Africa are still allowed to catch and kill one shark per day – this must stop!”
So, enjoy and become transfixed by these fascinating creatures, and understand the privilege to witness sharks, first-hand. There are many organisations to which you may donate in order to play your part to ensure that our beloved shark remains a major tourist attraction. The Save Our Seas Foundation is one such non-profit organisation that is committed to funding vital research, educating the public and, most of all, aiding in the conservation of sharks.
For more information on how you can help you can join their Facebook group and also follow them on Twitter.