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Shark Conservationin South Africa

Mission Statement

The SharkWise Project aims to provide the logistics needed to improve shark conservation in South Africa with a strong focus on achievable, reliable and impactful research. The program focuses on collecting ongoing, long-term data to monitor the status of shark populations in the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area and to train marine enthusiasts and future marine biologists. SharkWise aims to support students in publishing research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals and to guide conservation policies.

Why Sharks?


Sharks preserve the health of marine ecosystems, and their numbers have been declining worldwide due to human activities.


Conserving sharks result in long-term social, economic and ecological benefits.


Sharks can be a socio-economic resource for a region as an eco-tourism attraction.

Impact Value of the
SharkWise Project

The SharkWise Project stands as a beacon of impact, aligning its mission with the Sustainable Development Goals:

SharkWise Project Impact Value

Goal 14

Life Below Water,

by promoting sustainable practices to ensure the health and balance of our oceans.

Goal 11

Sustainable Cities and Communities,

 as we promote responsible practices that preserve marine ecosystems, ensuring the longevity of our coastal communities.

Goal 4

Quality Education,

by providing a unique platform for hands-on learning in marine biology and shark conservation.

Goal 8

Decent Work and Economic Value

are addressed as we empower interns with skills and knowledge that pave the way for meaningful careers in marine science, contributing to both personal growth and economic prosperity.

Benthic Biodiversity on Aliwal Shoal, South Africa

Research Area: Aliwal Shoal 
Hope Spot

Bursting with marine life, The Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area (MPA) is our beacon of hope for shark conservation! From vibrant fish and turtles to the majestic sharks that grace its waters, Aliwal Shoal ranks among the top 10 dive sites globally. In 2014, Aliwal Shoal was recognised as a Hope Spot by Dr Earle's nonprofit organisation, Mission Blue, as it was scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean.

Experienced Team

Dedication. Expertise. Passion.

The extraordinary leaders are shaping the essence of our team. Dr. Sara Andreotti, a shark researcher and lecturer at Stellenbosch University, brings expertise in shark ethology, population estimates, genetics, and marine ecology. Walter Bernardis, a pioneer in shark diving at Aliwal Shoal with over three decades of experience, possesses unparalleled insights into the behaviour of various shark species. Fiona Féval, a passionate marine biologist and SSI instructor spearheads the SharkWise Project Team in fieldwork and data management. Andrew Gray is our experienced skipper. Jason Frewin, the manager of African Watersports and a PADI instructor, collaborates with Fiona and Jason Venter to lead the dives. Mthunzi Elias, our dive centre's indispensable handyman, is always ready to solve any challenge. Join our team and embark on a learning adventure with the best in the field!

Mthunzi Elias SharkWise Project Team

Operations & Logistics


SWP PADI Divemaster


Project Manager

Jason Frewin AWS & SharkWise DM

AWS PADI Dive Instructor

Enrico Federici, Italy

“The only word I would use to describe my experience at the SharkWise Project is life-changing.
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