Using this methodology, sharks can be identified without interacting with the animal directly compared to the more common tagging programmes. The identification process is also much more successful as the sharks can be identified even from a distance. To date, in over 700 field work days, 40’000 photographs have been taken, of which about 14’000 have been appropriate for identification and further integrated into the database.
The project has so far identified that:
1. Certain sharks return on a regular basis to the Dyer Island area;
2. There seems to be a distinctive spacial and temporal segregation between sexes during the summer months;
3. The average size of the sharks also seems to slowly increase;
4. Some sharks seem to move in loosely attached groupings ;
5. There is a significant transmitter and tag loss which rate can be estimated using photo identification ;
6. The average length of the sharks seems to increase slightly ;
7. This project has also given Marine and Coastal Management enough reason to extend the commercial white shark diving allowed area to include a secondary location, known as Holbaai, as the sharks seem to use the Dyer Island area differently throughout the year.