"Great Big Scary Shark in Fish Hoek” Email Hoax

Tuesday, 04 November 2008 03:40 | Written by 
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What motivates email hoaxers?  What assholes.  This 2006 pic of a Great White Shark is doing the rounds via email at the moment.


Great White Shark, Fish Hoek
2006 image showing Great White Shark off Fish Hoek Beach. (Copyright Alison Kock)


"No more swimming in Fish Hoek!"

The email says something like: This shark was spotted swimming meters from Fish Hoek beach a few days ago...  ...don't go swimming in Fish Hoek bay... 

Other versions of the email claim that:

Shark researchers were chumming in Fish Hoek Bay to attract the sharks as part of a research project.

What crap!

Here's the real story:

On 28 September 2006, the shark spotters on duty at Fish Hoek saw this Great White swim into the bay, sounded the alarm and got everyone out of the water.  Shark researchers who were working at Seal Island 10km away in False Bay heard the radio call and motored across to Fish Hoek to try to tag this specimen as part of the project to understand the movements of the animals in the bay.  They didn't succeed because the shark simply swam away from the boat whenever it came near.  That's it (yawn).

For more information, see the Save our Seas blog at: http://tinyurl.com/59hv7u  

Should people be scared?


  • This shark was pictured in 2006 - it's rather unlikely that he's still lurking there two years later!
  • Fish Hoek beach is on the OCEAN.  Hello!  The ocean contains all kinds of animals including Great White Sharks!  It always has; always will. 
  • Fish Hoek beach is protected by Shark Spotters!  Why do you think they're there?  Who do you think spotted this shark and got the people out of the water?  The system works!

What about the surfskis that have been bitten by sharks near Fish Hoek? 

There have been three occasions in the last 5 years where sharks have bitten skis in or near Fish Hoek (Paul Mauger, Trevor Wright & Lyle Maasdorp).  However, no-one was injured in any of those incidents.

In fact in the fifteen-odd incidents total that I know of ever, no-one has been seriously hurt.  Except of course for that one paddler in East London, South Africa who shall remain nameless, who carried out an unprovoked attack on a shark when he mistakenly went to an angler's assistance, thinking the fisherman needed help to bring in a really big fish!  150-odd stitches later...

You are far more likely to hurt yourself driving to the beach than you are even to see a shark.  The odds of a paddler being hurt by a shark are miniscule.

When you see the email

Ideally don't pass it on!

If you have to though, please add the real facts - don't perpetuate a stupid hoax.