4 September, 2014 4 September, 2014

It’s a Cormorant, Not a Shark Says Expert

“While surfing with my father and a friend at Farmer Burgers up the weskus, I hit my head with my surfboard,” wrote Jonah Paarman to Zag about a recent road trip.

“After getting stitched up in Lamberts Bay my father and I went back to Farmer Burgers, where he suited up to get back in the water. I took a photo at random along the point and upon observation I spotted a fin. I quickly called my dad before he got in and we waved frantically at my friend and the two others. By the time they got out the shark was probably long gone, but it was freaky none-the-less.”

Attached with Jonah’s message was this photo (click to view larger):


When you zoom in on the image, what looks like a fin is visible just beyond the breaking wave. There also appears to be some kind of wake trailing it:


“It is 100% a cormorant flying by, not a shark,” explained Alison Kock, research manager for the Shark Spotter programme, when we asked her to take a look at the photo. It was only after Alison’s reply that we noticed the group of cormorants chilling on the rocks nearby (Zag Spy needs to work on his powers of observation).

“White sharks can occur in that area, but are fairly rare,” Alison continued. “Their main concentrations start from False Bay to Algoa Bay. They do migrate through the Eastern Cape, but also to a lessor degree than in the Western Cape. Of course, other large species like cow sharks and bronze whalers are very common on the west coast.”

But like Zag Spy’s father always said, “If in doubt, don’t paddle out!”

Safe surfing, Jonah…

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