Marine Research around Port Elizabeth and Algoa Bay
African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) Research
We have lost 70% of our African penguins during the last ten years, reclassifying it as endangered. Raggy Charters has been working closely with Dr Lorien Pichegru, who has been studying the breeding success of African Penguins in Algoa Bay for the past seven years, to determine whether competition with purse-seine fisheries has caused the decline in African penguin numbers. Lorien gained her PhD at the University of Strasbourg, France, in 2008 and is currently a research associate at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (click here for a list of her publications). Part of the study involves closing a 20km radius around St Croix Island to fishing by purse seiners who target one of the penguins prey items, the sardine. It has been found that even this small Marine Protected Area around the colony helps dramatically. Click here for more information about the research being conducted on the African penguin.
Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Research
Raggy Charters has been assisting Dr Matt Dicken and Dr Malcolm Smale in their research at Bird Island during the last three years. They are trying to determine if Algoa Bay is a breeding and nursery ground for these sharks. They are also deploying acoustic tags in order to find out more about their movements. Click here to read more about the Great white shark research being carried out in Port Elizabeth.
Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera brydei) Research
The founder and owner of Raggy Charters, Lloyd Edwards, has been collecting data on the distribution and abundance of all cetaceans during his marine eco-cruises in Algoa Bay since 1997. The Bryde’s whale has proved to be the most fascinating and elusive of all and so became the focus for his master's thesis. Data is currently being collected on the movement of Bryde's whales along the South African coast, using fin identification. For more information on our Bryde's whale research click here.
Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Research
There have been 785 recorded sightings of killer whales along the South African coastline which seems a lot, but 627 of these observations were from surface long line vessels on the continental drop off on the Agulhas Bank. The other 158 were from sightings by scientists, boat-based whale watching operators, fishermen, skippers and their ilk. Strandings and animals taken by the whale industry make up the balance. As a result of the unpredictability of killer whale sightings along our shore, data are only collected on an ad hoc basis. (Click here for a full report and photo gallery)
Raggy Charters has been assisting Dr Nadine Strydom and Paula Patrick from Rhodes University since 2005. The initial study determined the composition, abundance, distribution and seasonality of larval fishes in the shallow near shore of the proposed Greater Addo Marine Reserve. The research is on-going and has expanded. Read the abstract here...