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South African Shark Conservancy



Sharks Tagged


Students Trained


Research Papers Published

Conserving Sharks and Oceans

South African Shark Conservancy works alongside government, industry, academia, and eNGO sectors to co-develop sustainable management approaches and conservation objectives for sharks, their relatives and coastal ocean ecosystems.

Who We Are

SASC is a not-for-profit organization based in Hermanus, Western Cape. Formed in 2007, SASC has become globally recognized for our collaborative approach to conservation and for our work on sharks and ocean ecosystems.

How to Join

The Shark Academy is our skills development and training division. We provide exceptional field-based training opportunities for early career scientists and conservationists interested in sharks.

What We Do

SASC employs a holistic and inclusive research approach, working to promote the sustainable use and informed conservation of sharks and oceans.

Support Our Efforts

Check out our campaign on GivenGain and support us where you can. Spread the word, start your own fundraiser or choose a Sponsor Package.

Shark Academy


The Shark Lab


The Shark Lab

The South African Shark Conservancy Lab is the central hub of all our work. The Shark Lab is home to the Shark Academy - our skills development and training division. It houses experimental tanks, a student office, education centre, and an administrative office. To ensure our research and collaborative science is robust and meaningful, research conducted at the Shark Lab is subject to peer-review.

The Shark Lab

Our Research

Our core research area at South African Shark Conservancy stretches over 200km of coastline, from Betty’s Bay Marine Protected Area (BBMPA) in the west to Quoin Point in the east. Contained within this area are three distinct management zones represented by a full MPA (BBMPA), a seasonal protected area (Walker Bay Whale Sanctuary) and a year-round open access area. This provides the unparalleled opportunity to study how divergent marine management strategies affect coastal ocean species and spaces.

SASC Research

How we do it

Data Development

Develop baseline biological and ecological data on commercially exploited and endemic sharks using a multi-pronged research approach.

Species Management

Support national and regional management of sharks and their relatives through the provision of long-term species-specific datasets.

Quantify and Monitor

Quantify and monitor trends in abundance, distribution and community composition of sharks and their relatives as a function of spatially explicit management and coastal change.

Livelihood Opportunities

Develop livelihood diversification opportunities for marginalised fishers and coastal fishing communities.


The South African Shark Conservancy team has decades of cumulative experience in the fields of shark research, marine conservation and aquaculture. We are passionate about delivering field and science-based training with a focus on Africa’s diverse sharks through the Shark Academy. SASC excels at developing and implementing large scale data-driven projects that stand up to scientific scrutiny. We have proven successes working in collaborative spaces on issues of international and regional conservation concern.

Natalia Drobniewska

Natalia Drobniewska

Director at SASC NPC & General Manager

The beginning of 2013 was a very important point in my life. I had an opportunity to fulfil my true passion for marine life, especially sharks, when I first visited South Africa and began studying great white sharks on a volunteer program. After returning to London, I decided to pursue my Marine Biology studies with Oxford College, and received my qualification later that year.

Early in 2014, I came back to South Africa for an internship with the South African Shark Conservancy and, due to my enthusiasm and hard work, I was offered a position on the team. I have been in South Africa ever since and am now a Director of the SASC NPC as well as the General Manager. I am responsible for decision making as well as daily research and outreach activities, overseeing the Shark Academy skills development training for interns and volunteers, liaising with stakeholders, and managing our large ecological databases.

Guy Paulet

Guy Paulet

Director at the SASC NPC & Operations Manager

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, I spent much of my childhood in various National Parks around the country which is where my passion for the aquatic environment developed. After finishing school, I moved to South Africa to further my studies and obtained an MSc. Degree in Ichthyology and Fisheries Science, after which I worked as a researcher for a few years at Rhodes University’s Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science. I have considerable experience in the field of aquaculture and have consulted on a broad range of fisheries projects in a number of African countries. I am a Director of the South African Shark Conservancy NPC and currently function in the role of Operations Manager. I initially joined the SASC team as the boat skipper and then progressed through the roles of Field Operations Manager and Shark Academy Program Manager before my current position.
Michael Markinova

Michael Markovina

Director at SASC NPC & Funding Manager

Laila Rouhani

Laila Rouhani

Junior Manager & Outreach Coordinator

Growing up in South Africa and being exposed to our beautiful landscapes and incredible coastline sparked my passion for conservation. After finishing school, I studied Nature Conservation and Advanced Wildlife Management in KwaZulu-Natal.

I joined the SASC team in early 2020 as the Scientific Communications Officer and later became the Shark Academy Program Manager. More recently, I took on the role of the Junior Manager. I am responsible for SASC’s interns and volunteers as well as the day-to-day running of the lab.

Being able to meet and work with like-minded people from across the world is very rewarding.

Emy Cottrant

Emy Cottrant

PhD Candidate & Research Assistant

I’m from France where I graduated with an MSc in marine biology and ecology from Aix-Marseille University. I came to SASC for the first time in 2019 for a 2-month internship as I’ve been passionate about sharks since I was a kid and wanted to get more experience in the field. I fell in love with the place and all the different shark species we get to study on a daily basis and did everything I could to come back! I recently started a PhD here with the University of Cape Town.
I'm going to work on all long term datasets that SASC has been collecting since it opened in order to protect endemic and vulnerable species of South Africa. My goal is also to collaborate with new students that will come work with us, helping them have their first experience in the marine ecology field.
Meaghen McCord

Meaghen McCord

Founder & Scientific Advisor

Meaghen has been studying sharks around the world for more than 20 years. She founded the South African Shark Conservancy (SASC) in 2007, and subsequently founded its flagship science-based training program, the Shark Academy in 2010. Meaghen was the Executive Director and Chief Scientist of SASC for 14 years, before immigrating to Canada with her family in 2020.

Meaghen has co-authored numerous scientific papers on sharks and serves as a specialist scientist on a number of international committees, including the IUCN Shark Specialist Group. Her expertise in sharks has led her on numerous adventures, and her work has been featured on Animal Planet, BBC Earth, Discovery Channel, Forbes Women Africa, and more. She has also acted as the shark scientist on thrilling expeditions for Land Rover and Discovery Channel.

Meaghen now works for Parks Canada as a Marine Management Advisor and specialist marine megafauna and ecosystem ecologist. Her current work supports Canada's efforts to achieve the country's Marine Conservation Targets under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (Aichi Target 11). She is also a Scientific Advisor and post-graduate student supervisor with SASC.

Get Involved

Support our efforts by joining the Shark Academy or making a donation in support of our work.