70 years of helping people to care for our ocean
South African Association for Marine Biological Research (RF) NPC

The South African Association for Marine Biological Research is a Non Profit Company founded in 1951 and comprises 3 divisions:

ORI (The Oceanographic Research Institute)
uShaka Sea World (Aquarium)
uShaka Sea World Education 

SAAMBR Mission

To contribute to the conservation of marine and coastal resources by:

  • generating scientific information through the Oceanographic Research Institute, a leading marine science research institute in the Western Indian Ocean Region;
  • disseminating information and inspiring care for the oceans through uShaka Sea World, Africa’s largest world class, conservation-oriented aquarium and
  • empowering people through uShaka Sea World Education, the leading marine conservation education centre in Africa.

To be internationally recognised as the most effective, science-based advocate for the conservation of the marine and coastal resources of the Western Indian Ocean.

SAAMBR History

Inspired by the natural beauty and rich coastal and marine biodiversity of KwaZulu-Natal, a group of conservationists, academics and fishermen undertook an expedition in 1947 to the remote northern part of the coast.

Although impressed by the diversity of marine life, they recognised the fragile nature of the ecosystems and the close interdependence between resources and coastal communities. Concerned about the future of marine conservation in South Africa, they conceived the establishment of a not-for-profit marine research organisation that would generate knowledge about marine and coastal resources and provide decision support for people and their leaders. As far as possible, funding would be self-generated through the operations of a public aquarium in the popular holiday town of Durban.

The South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) was therefore established in 1951.  In 1959 the complex housing the Durban Centenary Aquarium, research laboratories and a fine library was officially opened, followed by the dolphinarium complex in 1976.

SAAMBR moved from the old aquarium site on Durban’s South beach, to new premises at uShaka Marine World in 2004.

SAAMBR continues to serve the people of KwaZulu-Natal, while playing an increasingly important role in marine scientific endeavour in South Africa and other areas of the Western Indian Ocean.

Dr Larry Oellermann

Chief Executive Officer


Denis Browne

Financial and Administration Director (CFO)

Dr Judy Mann-Lang 

Conservation Strategist

Dr Sean Fennessy

Assistant Director

Tony McEwan

uShaka Sea World

Jone Porter

Director of Education
uShaka Sea World Education

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