Strandloper Project

Expedition 2022


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2020 Expedition Report

2019 Duineveld Report

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Read about our Ghost fishing awareness program and other environmental educational and research on our Blog

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Watch a video report of one of our research projects:




Strandloper Project
Fostering marine conservation through citizen science


Dive crew


Local Champions of Citizen Science

The Strandloper Project originated in January 2018 when a group of concerned locals in the Garden Route organized a reef clean up dive to remove snagged recreational fishing tackle from the inshore reef at Gericke's Point 4km west of the coastal village of Sedgefield.


While sorting the recovered tackle after their first cleanup dive, the group realized that the problem of snagged fishing tackle extended beyond the mere issue of aesthetic degradation. A dead shy shark and sea catfish found on snagged recreational fishing gear indicated that snagged bated hooks posed a ghost fishing threat to reef fish.


Current Status

The Strandloper Project was registered as a Not For Profit Company (Reg # 2022/661885/08) in August 2022 and as a Non Profit Organization ( 287-926 NPO) in February 2023.




Researching Threats to Marine Biodiversity

During monthly follow up dives, it soon became evident that physical reef damage,lead poisoning and avian entanglements were additional threats to marine fauna and flora posed by lost and discarded recreational fishing tackle.


Regular monitoring on reef transects indicated that accumulations of lead sinkers resulted in lead poisoning of attached reef organisms. In addition, physical damage to the reef organisms occurred when tackle scraped across the reef in high casts zones, resulting in distinct dead zones of reef and the consequent absence of small bait fish.


Reef monitoring


Capturing Change

Using a combination of baited remote underwater video (BRUV) and fixed point photography to monitor for the transformation of reef communities, the Strandloper Project has been able to document a remarkable change in reef cover which is most likely attributed to both direct and indirect climate change factors.




Coastal Research Expedition

On a daily basis content from scientific research percolates into public discussion, raising a global focus on awareness of the degradation of marine environments. Plastic pollution has galvanized public focus, initiating mass action to reduce consumption of single use plastics and implement reusable alternatives.


To better understand the regional source and impact of plastic pollution, in May 2019, the Strandloper Project conducted their first coastal research expedition to survey the density and distribution of washed up plastic pollution and fishing debris. The annual expedition series has become a valuable marine research project and after their third expedition in October, the Strandloper Project had surveyed 603km of coastline, and impressive 20% of the South African shoreline.




Public Awareness

A large component of conducting our various marine research projects is to raise awareness of the impact that human activities have on the ocean. Engaging through social media, radio appearances, public presentations and school programs, the Strandloper Project shares insights from their ocean studies and offering solutions how individuals can be the change in ocean conservation.




Ongoing research

The complexity of marine ecology dictates that there is a never ending source of factors to study. Our initial research, while answering our original questions has unveiled numerous others. We look forward to embarking on new fields of study to compliment our research into ghost fishing, plastic pollution and climate change with ocean re-wilding, current drift analysis, water quality testing and plastic pollution interventions.


We have receive phenomenal support from local communities and businesses and look forward to the continuing journey of fostering a community driven program of marine conservation.


Antarctic Fur Seal


Marine Strandings.


A wide range of species regularly wash up on beaches in the Garden Route, especially after storms and extended periods of strong southerly winds. To conduct a safe rescue and to ensure the best handling of the stranded marine species, it is important to contact organizations that are trained to do so. There is a comprehensive list of the organizations in the Garden Route which you can view on our Marine Stranding page



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