It’s Shark Awareness Month …
… so we’re taking a look at some of the lesser-known shark species that are recorded as being present in our very own False Bay.
The first we decided to highlight is the Common or Atlantic Thresher
This shark isn’t that “common” for us in terms of sightings but if you do see one, it’s really easy to recognise because of the incredible length of the upper half of its tail fin… which can make up half its totally body length!
The thresher shark uses the tail fin to ‘thresh’ or flail its prey -> mainly schooling fish like herring and anchovy
Good news for humans (and no surprise if you are a fan), despite its large size this shark is “minimally dangerous to humans due to its relatively small teeth and timid disposition”
Unfortunately the Atlantic Thresher Shark’s conservation status is listed as Threatened and Vulnerable
This is due to its value to commercial fishers, with large numbers being caught on both long-line and gill-net. Recreational fishers also value this shark for its ‘fight’
The common thresher has a low rate of reproduction
As a result cannot withstand heavy fishing pressure for long, a case proved by the rapid collapse of the thresher shark fishery off California in the 1980s. Maybe paste hw word along to any fishing buddies you have?
And even seals can prey on smaller thresher sharks — as shown by this snippet of video captured by an OMSAC’er recently while on a night excursion with Graeme Grant of Oceans Africa