Features » Ocean Tracking Network in South Africa

The Ocean Tracking Network project was launched at a breakfast launch at the Canadian Official Residence in Pretoria on August 2, 2011.       

The Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) is a Canadian-based, multimillion dollar research project that aims to make use of acoustic technology to study fish migration patterns. The OTN project, based at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia recently signed a collaboration agreement with the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) which will be responsible for the deployment and maintenance of data‐logging devices that will monitor ocean conditions and migrations of marine life.

These deployments are being executed in two phases. The first phase has been completed with deployment of four (4) lines of receivers in Algoa Bay and three (3) 30m Under-water Temperature Recorder (UTR) thermistors in Mossel Bay. The second phase deployments will be made in False Bay, Port Alfred, Port St Johns, Aliwal Shoal and Leven Point. All deployments are being done along with SAEON to ensure maximum collaboration between the National Facilities.

The data-logging receivers will be deployed at fixed stations for at least the next five years to monitor the presence of animals tagged with acoustic transmitters. The OTN project aims to address the conservation needs of numerous iconic predators and important fishery species by studying their movements and migration patterns.  While considerable focus will be placed on great white sharks in False Bay, Mossel Bay and Algoa Bay, many other species including tiger sharks, ragged tooth sharks, Zambezi (bull) sharks, dusky kob, white steenbras, and leervis will be tagged at other localities around our coastline. South Africa is well positioned to contribute to this international scientific project because it possesses numerous species of conservation importance and fishery risk.

Research Team:

SAIAB is the contracted OTN partner responsible for the deployment and maintenance of the data- logging devices spear headed by Dr Paul Cowley and has co-opted organisations like Oceans Research in Mossel Bay ad Bayworld in Port Elizabeth to play a pivotal role in the success of this project by assisting with the deployment and servicing of the equipment.




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