About us

The Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) is a division of the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), and has a 60-year track-record of marine and coastal scientific excellence in the western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. ORI is a division the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR), a not-for-profit organisation founded in Durban, South Africa in 1951.

The organisation’s mission is to promote wise, sustainable use of marine resources through scientific investigation, and to stimulate community awareness of the marine environment through education.

ORI staff proudly display the flag that once flew above the Institute’s research vessel David Davies in the 1960s

ORI relies on a team of experienced scientists and capable support staff, who participate in numerous national, regional, and international projects. Located at uShaka Marine World in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, its influence and collaboration has extended well beyond South Africa's borders, to all African and island states within the Western Indian Ocean region.

ORI fulfils a capacity building and training role at the postgraduate level through its affiliation with the University of KwaZulu-Natal by offering an honours degree course on Fisheries Science, and through supervision of students at MSc and PhD level.

ORI also designs bespoke training courses for clients as required, and contributes significantly to awareness of marine and coastal issues at various other levels in society through uShaka Sea World and the uShaka Sea World Education Centre.

ORI facilities include a comprehensive and up-to-date library, computer systems, fisheries databases, salt water aquarium research facilities, laboratories and highly competent field team, including small craft operations and underwater (SCUBA) capabilities.

ORI offers a range of services:

  • fisheries research (particularly crustacean and line-fish resources
  • marine biodiversity assessment
  • coral reef ecosystems of the western Indian Ocean
  • resource use policy, planning and development of management plans
  • sustainable coastal zone development and management
  • Marine Protected Area (MPA) assessment
  • modelling of resource dynamics and usage
  • long-term monitoring of resource use
  • socio-economic assessment of marine resource use
  • marine related recreation and tourism
  • aquariology and aquaculture support.

ORI also offers consulting services to a range of national and international clients, including the South Western Indian Ocean Fisheries Project (SWIOFP), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA), World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the United Nation’s Environmental Programme (UNEP), among many others.