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Great White Sharks Vanish From Cape Town, and No One Knows Why

  • No sightings of the predators off False Bay Coast this year
  • City municipality says has no explanation for disappearance
Great White Shark breaching at Seal Island, False Bay, South Africa.
Great White Shark breaching at Seal Island, False Bay, South Africa.Photographer: Chris Brunskill Ltd/Corbis News via Getty Images
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Great white sharks, which support South Africa’s shark-diving industry and have been responsible for a number of fatal attacks off Cape Town, haven’t been seen in the region for 18 months.

Between 2010 and 2016 staff at the Shark Spotting Programme, established to warn swimmers when the three-ton predators approached beaches, reported an average of 205 sightings of the fish off the beaches of False Bay. In 2018 that fell to 50 and this year not one has been seen. None have been seen at Seal Island, a one-time feeding ground off the coast.