Why Great White Sharks can’t be kept in captivity

Unfortunately, if you can’t seem to muster up the courage to go shark cage diving in Gansbaai you’re not going to get up close and personal with a Great white anytime soon (or anytime at all).

All around the world, biologists and scientists alike have been attempting to create the perfect captive environment for the Great White but without any success. In fact, the longest period one has ever survived in captivity was a mere 198 days. Even then, the shark was hosted in a one million-gallon tank at an aquarium in California. The shark ate four pounds of salmon, mackerel and sardines before it’s health eventually deteriorated enough for it to be released. A week after it’s release the shark was reported dead. The fact that the shark was eating at all during it’s captivity was a great feat as they enjoy the thrill of the hunt to catch their food.

Though there are a few theories as to why the sharks can’t be kept in captivity, the exact cause has yet to be determined. Many believe that the sharks become depressed, knocking their noses into the tank walls and losing their appetite. Having such a large tank to house the shark also brings about the issue of ensuring that the water contains enough saline as the Great White is a salt water species.

If that wasn’t enough of a headache, the sheer logistics of handling and transporting the Great White is a battle in itself. Not to mention the fact that the shark first needs to be caught! Before any of this can happen, the aquarium would need to create a tank large enough to house the shark comfortably.

So what is there for you to do in order to see a Great White in person? You could always book a dive with us and choose between surface viewing or going into the actual cage itself. Click here to make your booking!

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