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Over 100 million sharks are killed annually, putting enormous pressure on shark populations worldwide. Sharks have traditionally been considered a detriment to coastal tourism, but since the early 1990s, shifts in attitudes amongst divers have led to growth in the popularity of shark watching as a tourist activity. An estimated 500,000 divers a year find, photograph, feed, and swim with sharks, contributing millions of dollars to local and regional economies. Can the economic value attached to shark watching provide enough incentive to reduce consumptive exploitation levels. Although the economic value attached to shark watching has led to greater protection of sharks in some locations, analysis of available data suggests that incentives do not appear large enough to encourage a significant reduction in fishing pressure appropriate to the scale of threat facing sharks.

Our Shark Conservation Efforts

Bronze Whaler Shark
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After the mass flight response of the Great White Shark in the False Bay and Gansbaai area due to the killer whale predations, a new shark species has taken centre stage, the Bronze Whaler, also known as the Copper Shark.

These sharks who are known for their bronze/gold colouration on top and white underbellies, have saved the shark cage diving industry and allowed guests the opportunity to observe these interactive creatures.

As with most shark species, the Bronze Whaler is at risk of extinction due to overfishing. Since 2021, we have actively been engaging with Matshidiso Malatji from the Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment, in an effort to declare False Bay as a Marine Protected Area. We have evidence that indicates that the False Bay area is used a birthing and nursey ground for female Bronze Whalers. Overfishing in the False Bay area can severely disrupt the Bronze Whaler population if we don’t do something now.  

At Apex Shark Expeditions, we are not only a tour operator, we are also guardians of the sharks and the oceans. In the last year, we have only seen one juvenile male and one adult male. The majority of Bronze Whaler sightings are of females, which further supports our theory that the False Bay area is used as a nursey ground. Our campaign for change has taken a positive turn, as of 25 November 2023, the Department of Forestry Fisheries and the Environment has added 146 species of sharks and rays from the family of requiem sharks (the Bronze Whaler included)  to the CITES list, and any trade of any of these species, now requires a CITES permit. This is important control measure particularly in the international shark fin trade industry.  

In 1991, South Africa pioneered the conservation of the Great White by declaring them a protected species and now it is crucial that we do the same for the Bronze Whaler. 


Did you know that approximately 0.5% of the world’s plastic waste ends up in our oceans? In 2023, we introduced our complimentary eco-friendly aluminium water bottles to all of our guests. Over the years, we noticed that many of our guests used plastic bottles and we decided to encourage them to reduce their plastic consumption not only on the boat but in their everyday lives as well.

In addition to being sustainable, our aluminium bottles carry an inspiring message to “Be the change you wish to sea“.

Dune rehabilitation

In March 2023 after much consultation, the City of Cape town announced the commencement of various dune rehabilitation projects. In an effort to offset our carbon emissions, we funded the coastal protection fence in collaboration with Shark Spotter in Glencairn (situated about 4km north of Simonstown). The purpose of the fence is to protect the coastal vegetation from trampling, conserving the coastal flora, promoting stabilisation of the remaining dune cordon while improving diversity through future planting of coastal vegetation.

Storm Water Drain Net

One of our long standing skilled crew members, Bongani repaired this storm water drain net in Simon’s Town Harbour. Bongani skillfully cleared all the debris and mended the fence so that no further pollutants could enter our oceans. With the help of Fisheries & Aquaculture Development Institute (FADI), we upskill our staff in repairing nets so that we can be of service when nearby shark nets need fixing.

  • In partnership with The University of Miami, Apex has been instrumental in ground breaking scientific research of Great white sharks at Seal Island as well as changes to the eco system.
  • In partnership with The University of Miami, Apex is facilitating, funding and participating in ongoing shark research projects within South Africa’s Flagship Marine Protected area, the De Hoop Marine Reserve. The projects aim to show the vulnerability of shark species and the importance of Marine Protected areas.
  • September 2020 Press Release
    Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, The University of Miami hasn’t been able to get to South Africa to conduct research, including ecological surveys of fish and sharks in False Bay. For the same reasons, the once booming ecotourism industry of False Bay has come to a halt, leaving many locals without jobs. Fortunately, The University of Miami have been collaborating for years with the eco-tour operation, Apex Shark Expeditions. To continue the research in their absence, The University of Miami have hired Apex Shark Expeditions crew and boats to conduct their collaborative research surveys. This includes deploying baited remote underwater video surveys (BRUVS) as seen in this video. This collaboration has allowed The University of Miami to continue research while providing a source of needed income to the local community.
    Special thanks to Lunga Makunga, Ryan Miller, Talishia Langenhoven and Bongani Makati of Apex Shark Expeditions for their help!
  • Ongoing scientific data collection and monthly submissions to marine research institutions
  • Photographic works depicting the natural world and with movements such as global warming, protection of biodiversity and sustainability gaining momentum, our work serves to add visual credence to these causes.

Shark Research and Conservation Program at The University of Miami

Directed by Dr Neil Hammerschlag, the Shark Research & Conservation Program (SRC) at the University of Miami conducts cutting-edge shark research while also inspiring scientific literacy and environmental ethic in youth through unique hands-on field research experiences.


Oceana is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Their offices in the Americas and Europe work together on a limited number of strategic campaigns to achieve measurable outcomes that will help return our oceans to former levels of abundance.


AILERONS, the Association Ichtyologique pour L’Etude la Recherche et l’Observation dans la Nature des Sélaciens, is a French non-governmental organization founded in May 2006 by the marine biologist and French member of the Mediterranean Shark Research Group, Nicolas ZIANI. The organisation is located in Montpellier (Hérault), Southern France. AILERONS aim is to study sharks and rays for their conservation and the education of the people about sharks’ ecological importance and the urgent need for global shark conservation. The primary goal is to study shark and ray populations in the French Mediterranean in order to participate in their conservation.

Oceans Artists Society

Using Ocean Art to Inspire People Around the World to a Greater Awareness of our Need to Preserve our Natural World.

White Shark Conservation Trust

To contribute to the worldwide conservation of the Great White Shark Carcharodon carcharias. To increase public awareness, dispel the myths about the great white shark and provide some hope for the species survival.


Many people think that as an individual one cannot make a difference in terms of contributing to the conservation of our Oceans. Quite a few years ago Monterey Bay Aquarium came up with the idea of producing a Seafood Watch Card. The primary idea behind this is that this wallet size info card carries information on all choices of seafood that we as consumers can purchase in stores, markets as well as in restaurants. What is really fantastic about this initiative is that it does not tell you not to eat seafood, but rather it gives advice on how to proceed with the most environmentally safe items of choice. Different species of fish and seafood are available in different parts of the world. We have managed to find links to seafood watch cards that are available for use in different parts of the USA, Canada, The United Kingdom and South Africa.

It also gives information on what is not environmentally friendly to eat. So, the choice is yours! this is one way that we as individuals can make a difference, and you can pass this information onto your friends and family too. Follow the links on the map.

The First Choice Shark Cage Diving Operator For:

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27 June 2023

Next trip 28 June

*Trip status updated daily at 16h00 SAST