Orcas in Mossel Bay: A community conservation effort

Orcas in Mossel Bay: A community conservation effort

Posted by on May 19, 2023

How to participate in orca conservation in Mossel Bay, South Africa

History of Orcas in Southern Africa

Orcas are an iconic species in South African waters. The subpopulation found in Southern Africa is the most genetically diverse on earth due to their geographic positioning during the last global ice age. Several ecotypes exist along the South African coast and Marion Islands, ranging in size, habitat use, and diet. 


Orcas in Mossel Bay 

Last year, local photographer Christiaan Stopforth took the first ever video of orcas preying on a great white shark off of seal island. Seal island, Mossel Bay’s local seal colony, is noted for its large population of white sharks that frequent surrounding waters. In recent years, orca sightings have increased in frequency in Mossel Bay. Most reported sightings are of two individuals named Port and Starboard, a pair of adult male orcas with collapsed dorsal fins. This pair is responsible for the infamous great white shark predation and are semi-frequently spotted in our area.


Community effort to report sightings

Conservation stakeholders in our area are coming together to report sightings of orcas in Mossel Bay for Sea Search Africa, a marine mammal research group based in Cape Town and Dr. Paul Tixier with the Institute of Research and Development


  1. Report to Oceans Research Institute immediately. This can be done via text or social media. If you are a local or frequent visitor to Mossel Bay and are interested in contributing, please request our number via info@oceans-research.com.
  2. Take a photo of the dorsal fin and send it to info@oceans-research.com. All photos and information will be sent to Dr. Simon Elwen at Sea Search Africa. 
  3. Share your sighting with the public and encourage your friends and family to keep an eye out for orcas in Mossel Bay!

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