• Petra Vandecasteele

Who Kidnapped the Great White?

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

There's currently a lot of talk and mystery about this year's absence of the Great White around the tip of Africa. So, I asked my friend Alessandro De Maddalena – a world leading expert on sharks and author of numerous publications on sharks – to shed some light on the sudden disappearance of this magnificent creature from the turquoise waters of False Bay, South Africa.

"Everyone is blaming the orcas for the disappearance of the great whites, but they actually only play a minor role in this situation," reckons Alessandro. "Shark-eating orcas can chase away great whites from an area for a certain period, but can't be held accountable for destroying an entire population of this species. The only ones who can do that are the humans."

"There has been a continuous decrease of great white sharks along the coasts of South Africa, and the same thing is happening everywhere in the world. And it's not just about great whites, it's about all species of sharks, and generally speaking, with the vast majority of fish species. The reason for this is that there are by far too many humans on this planet, and as a result the natural resources are decreasing dramatically."

"Most shark populations were doing very well 50 years ago. Then the human population has doubled. There has been more and more fishing, with more and more utilization of non selective fishing gear. Sharks are killed in an unbelievable number all over the world, with estimates of 70 - 100 million sharks being killed each and every year. We kill the sharks, we kill their prey, we pollute and invade all the waters they live in. These are the true reasons of the dramatic decrease in great white shark numbers."

Sadly, this spectacular sighting is no longer to be seen in False Bay this year.

Read more on the great white in 'The Great Whites in False Bay' and get a totally different perspective on sharks. It's worth the read, you won't regret the time spent on it!

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