The Shark Research Unit is on a mission to ensure the long-term health of the shark populations in South Africa.  We achieve our goals through conducting novel research, education, and conservation projects within our priority regions.

Our Priority Regions

Our priority regions host populations of sizeable coastal shark species that are either endangered or vulnerable to extinction. We chose these sites as they offer significant hope spots for the sustainable future of the resident species.

Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay hosts one of South Africa’s last remaining aggregations of great white sharks. The sharks utilise this distinct ecosystem due to its high abundance of prey resources.

Aliwal Shoal

Situated inside an established marine protected area (MPA) is the Aliwal Shoal. The shoal is one of South Africa’s success stories, showcasing the establishment of a highly sustainable coral reef and diverse shark community.


The Shark Research Unit seeks enthusiastic participants to join our dedicated shark science training and internship programs. Experience the world’s most charismatic sharks, gain world-class training, and support the units’ research and conservation efforts.  

Great White Shark Internship

Great White Shark during shark research internship training program at Mossel Bay south africa

Experiential training program conducting research on the oceans apex predator, the great white shark in Mossel Bay, South Africa

Shark Development Program


Develop your career and employment opportunities as a shark specialist. Master shark diving, media collection, citizen science, ecotourism operations and much more.

Sharkslive Film Internship

Great White Shark swimming during shark research internship training program at Mossel Bay south africa

Join the broadcast team producing the live streaming productions of great white shark cage diving expeditions out of Mossel Bay, South Africa. 


Shark fisherman prosecution

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

30 academic publications

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

Aliwal Shoal shark population status

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

Rocky bay shark net removals

We co-led a successful campaign to have shark nets removed from Rocky Bay within the Aliwal Shoal MPA

Great white sharks on CITES appendix 2

We used collaborative satellite tracking research to motivate the listing of white sharks on CITES Appendix 2

SA's most collobrative research project

Chief scientist on OCEARCH project – Most collaborative 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

Longest shark migration recorded

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


A fun way to support the research and conservation projects of the Shark Research Unit. Enjoy naming and following the adventures of a unique shark that you proudly adopt. Great personalised gifts for shark mad loved ones! 


A regal great white shark called ‘Katherine’

Adopted for Brayden Silver and gifted by Chloe Conners. A playful great white shark called Bruce. Resides in Mossel Bay, South Africa

A playful great white shark called ‘Bruce’

Adopted for Brayden Silver and gifted by Chloe Conners. A playful great white shark called Bruce. Resides in Mossel Bay, South Africa

A puffadder shyshark called ‘Gerald Jacob Lewin’

Adopted by Jacob Lewin as a gift from Sian Rose. A stunning tiny puffadder shyshark living in the Dolicers off Mossel Bay, South Africa.


Share in our shark world. Read and enjoy our latest articles featuring our work and news from the shark world. 

The Heroes or Villains of the Ocean?

In light of the recent shark attack in Jeffreys Bay, we thought we’d create a conversation about why this happens [...]

What you need to know when travelling to South Africa during Covid

International travel to and from South Africa is allowed, subject to health and safety protocols. We’ve put together some must-know information to help prepare you for your trip. South Africa is currently under Level 1 lockdown, where a curfew of 12pm – 4am has been instated. This curfew may affect your flight schedule, so please check with the airline you are flying with.

The Shark Research Unit rocks it on National Geographics – Sharkfest 2020

2020 Sharkfest on National Geographic starting 4 July has month-long shark documentaries including the South African filmed Shark vs Whale, a groundbreaking film hosted by the Shark Research Unit’s Ryan Johnson

Swimming with sharks – Top 3 sharks we can swim with

Working with sharks every day sounds like a marine biologist’s dream job. And of course, it’s the truth! But in order to pursue this exciting career full-time, you need some next-level research experience in the field. Shark research requires in-depth knowledge of scientific methods and field experience.


Is your dream to work with sharks?


The Shark Research Unit is a shark and marine research and conservation institute driven by a passionate team of shark experts. We are located in South Africa and work in two regions of priority – Aliwal Shoal and Mossel Bay. 

Our core purpose is to conduct and support original shark research, conservation and education programs through strategic partnerships with marine scientists, postgraduate students, ecotourism operators and academic institutes. 

Our focus extends to nurturing a new generation (of all ages) of shark scientists, professionals and enthusiasts. We achieve this through our great white shark research internship, learner outreach programs and expert guided shark edu-tours  



  • 182 Aalwyn Way
  • Aalwyndal
  • Mossel Bay 6520
  • South Africa


  • 34 Egerton Rd
  • Freeland Park
  • Schottburgh 4180
  • South Africa

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