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68. A shiver of Blacktip Sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus)


Chum in the water near Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu-Natal attracts a shiver of Blacktip Sharks.

The Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a requiem shark that prefers muddy bays, big lagoons, and drop-offs, and it differs from the smaller Blacktip Reef Shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus), a species that prefers shallow inshore waters and coral reefs. Blacktip Sharks, also sometimes called the "Oceanic Blacktip Shark," are one of the few shark species that occasionally breach the water surface with their entire bodies.

In this underwater video clip, we witness a tourist scuba attraction. Chum, which is a fish-based ground bait, is released into the water near Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and it attracts a shiver of Blacktip Sharks. Sharks, whose brains are wired to detect sick and injured fish, are attracted by the chopped-up fish paste. Different dive operators offer this somewhat controversial practice to scuba diving tourists. In general, it is bad practice to feed wild animals or lure them with food to entertain people. However, the sharks here are not fed at all; the chum, which is almost like a thick soup, is released into the water at depth and only forms smelly clouds. In some parts of the world, sharks are fed whole pieces of fish, which is a completely different practice.

Scuba divers, who are generally eco-friendly-minded, contribute to the local economy by participating in this practice. One must know that many protective wildlife laws and the creation of marine parks and sanctuaries only exist thanks to the advocacy of recreational scuba divers. By observing sharks, we get to know them better, and by knowing them better, we witness firsthand that these predators are not as dangerous as some people like to portray them. Feared and misunderstood, they are victims of one of man's obsessions: to hunt and exploit them for various purposes, from trophy hunting to the lucrative shark fin trade. This relentless pursuit not only threatens the survival of many shark species but also disrupts the delicate ecological equilibrium of the oceans. As apex predators, sharks play a crucial role in regulating the populations of their prey species, thereby influencing the health and diversity of marine life. Diving with sharks is an important way to showcase that these magnificent creatures are not to be feared.


Filmed in relatively turbid, deep water and without the use of submersible video lights, this footage turned out to be very noisy. Although an orange filter was used, and the white balance was set at depth, we had to correct the colours and remove the noise in post-production. The noise was created by the dark environment in which I had to use a high ISO setting and the cloudy chum that was drifting all over the place. ISO is nothing more than the sensitivity of the camera's sensor. By setting it to a more receptive level, noise is created as an unfortunate byproduct. Noise, which is a random variation of brightness or colour information in images and looks like little specks that make the image less sharp.

There is noise-removing software available to use in conjunction with your editing program. Better and more professional editing software programs (such as DaVinci Resolve) may come with a good and efficient build-in denoiser feature.

Although noise-removing software has been designed specifically to remove noise, the software is also very efficient at eliminating small suspended particles in underwater images and video footage.

Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa 🇿🇦

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