Sharks have played a vital role in the worlds marine ecosystems for over 400 million years. As apex predators, they bring and maintain, stability and health to the ocean. In excess of 70 million sharks are killed annually. This is a commercial harvesting rate that far exceeds the reproductive potential of most shark species. Biological extinction is the future for sharks… unless we change.


The Blue Wilderness Research Unit is on a mission to ensure the long-term health of Southern African shark populations.  We can achieve our goal through research, education, and sustainable conservation solutions that we share with the appropriate decision makers.


Shark fisherman prosecution

State witness and scientific expert in the first prosecution of a fisherman illegally catching a white shark in RSA

Great white sharks on CITES

Collaborative satellite tracking research used to motivate listing of white sharks on CITES App. 2

Longest shark migration recorded

Collaborated in tracking Nicole, the great white shark, from South Africa to Australia and back

Rocky bay shark net removals

Led successful campaign to have shark nets removed from Rocky Bay within the Aliwal Shoal MPA

30 academic publications

Researchers have authored over 30 peer reviewed academic publications in local & international journals

Largest shark research project ever

Chief scientist on OCEARCH project – Largest shark project with $5 million funding and 40 researchers

Scientific experts on 50+ documentaries

Our scientists have appeared on over 50 international documentaries advocating for sharks

Aliwal Shoal shark population status

We maintain a scientifically valid population assessment of 4 shark species on Aliwal Shoal


Our scientists have made great strides by using groundbreaking research to generate knowledge; educate local and global communities and inspire lasting conservation solutions. We appear on over 50 documentaries advocating for sharks and their conservation

Recent news

CITES 2013 Offers Protection for Shark and Manta Species

From Sunday 14 September, international trade in specimens of five shark species and all manta ray species, including their meat, gills and fins, will need to be accompanied by permits and certificates confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally. New controls adopted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild [...]

20 New Marine Protected Areas Proclaimed in South Africa

A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is an area of coastline or ocean that is specially protected for the benefit of people and nature. MARINE PROTECTED AREAS MPAs help manage part of the marine environment to promote fisheries sustainability, keep marine ecosystems working properly, and protect the range of species living there, helping people to benefit [...]


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