If you have high quality photographs of white shark dorsal fins, and would like to contribute to our photographic identification database, please connect!  


The Shark Research Unit believes in open-source data. We offer our full catalog with associated metadata (sightings, location, dates etc.) to all projects led by South African scientists that aim to benefit sharks and marine research capacity in South Africa.


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Compare matching body parts of white sharks

What is the great white shark photo identification catalogue?

The Shark Research Unit conducts daily expeditions to photograph and identify great white sharks in South Africa. We utilize multiple identifying characteristics including the dorsal fin notch pattern, pigmentation patterns on the caudal fin, as well as conspicuous scars and markings on individual sharks. This data is the cornerstone of ongoing population assessments and population dynamics studies on great white sharks in South Africa.  

Principle Scientist - Nico Booyens

Nico is a young aspiring shark biologist, head marine biologist and course instructor for the Shark Research Unit developing his master’s research on the sharks of Mossel Bay. Nico represents a leader in a new generation of marine scientists and conservationists and is actively involved with organisations such as Justice4Jaws.Nico also manages the unit’s special projects at our Mossel Bay facility. These include hosting our great white shark research students, orientating postgraduate students and managing data sets.


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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