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Sanlam Supports Plett Shark Spotters in Keeping Beaches Safe for All

20 December 2022

The Sanlam Group today announced that, through the Sanlam Foundation, it will support Shark Spotters in the Plettenberg Bay area over the December and January period.

While shark bite incidents are rare in the area, they do have far-reaching economic and social consequences when they occur. The Group is committed to ensuring a safe and successful festive season in this much-loved holiday destination.

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Shark safety efforts have been ramped up for the season with the Bitou Municipality and the Plett Shark Action Group partnering with the Cape Town-based Shark Spotters organisation to implement spotting and other shark safety measures in the Plettenberg Bay area.

Different from traditional shark bite mitigation measures, Shark Spotters takes a proactive approach to safety that causes no harm to animals, offering a sustainable solution that protects both human and marine life. Sustainability remains one of Sanlam’s key business imperatives and the shark spotting approach fosters a culture of sustainability and respect for the vulnerable marine species and their natural habitat, while also keeping local beaches open and safe for beachgoers, which has a widespread impact on the economy.

The Western Cape remains the only place in the world where shark spotting is practised, since its inception in Cape Town during the early 2000s following a spate of attacks in the False Bay area. Following the recent fatal incidents in Plettenberg Bay this year, it’s become a necessity to increase the safety of beachgoers, particularly as we head into the holiday period.

Paul Hanratty, Group CEO of Sanlam, says the festive season is a major driver for the local economy, particularly in smaller holiday towns that rely heavily on the influx of tourists during this time. “Shark attacks have a devastating impact on local businesses in these areas as fear for safety leaves visitors reluctant to partake in recreational activities that small businesses have to offer.

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“As a purpose-led organisation, we’re committed to the economic growth of South Africa. We value the great contribution that small businesses make to the local economy, they are a force for growth and building financial confidence in our country. It is only in the best interest of SMMEs in our local tourist destinations that we keep our beaches safe in a way that is sustainable for local business owners, as well as our marine life and the environment,” said Hanratty.

Further to this, the Plett Shark Spotting Station will also create jobs and skills development opportunities for people from disadvantaged areas in Plettenberg Bay, through employing and upskilling 14+ spotters which will ultimately add to the financial growth and confidence in the local community.

“The expansion of Shark Spotters to Plettenberg Bay is a positive step in promoting the sustainable coexistence of people and sharks in South Africa’s oceans. Sanlam’s support of Plett Shark Spotters is a perfect alignment of progressive organisations collaborating to provide lasting sustainable solutions that benefit both the people and the environment. We are thrilled and extremely grateful to have Sanlam on board as a primary funder and look forward to working together with them to make a tangible contribution to social and environmental upliftment in Plettenberg Bay,” added Sarah Warries, CEO of Shark Spotters.

If you would like to learn more about Shark Spotters or if you want to contribute to this initiative, kindly visit their website.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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