70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

Throwback Thursday Stories "Chronicles of the Oricle"

As we continue SAAMBR’s 70th Anniversary celebrations, we will be featuring a new Throwback Thursday series, comprising articles from our old newsletter, The Oricle. The Oricle was a quarterly newsletter produced by ORI to share our marine research with our strategic partners, interested individuals and members.

In the words of Rudy van der Elst, the previous Director of ORI – “In the early 1990s, the SAAMBR Council approved the appointment of a specialist fund-raising firm.  It became evident that in order to raise funds we would need to raise our public profile. A team of communication and editorial consultants were allocated to focus on raising our brand awareness and for a whole year they worked with us. Accordingly, we set up a membership drive whereby various levels of membership (like Friends of ORI) each had defined benefits that included behind the scenes tours, a day with a top marine scientist, publications, free access to Sea World and specialist lectures. And so, it was that The Oricle had been born and stayed alive for a further decade. Although we printed a modest number of copies, we were sure to have them placed on strategic desks in the region. And it is possible that ORI’s programmes in the West Indian Ocean region may in part have been enhanced by The Oricle!”

The Oricle was clearly ahead of its time – science communication before the term was even coined! It has been a wonderful trip down memory lane. We hope you enjoy the Chronicles of The Oricle series. If you remember The Oricle, please share your memories with us!

By: Natasha Rambaran

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The Oricle_1 ORI Research Institute SAAMBR
Bassas da India ORI SAAMBR
The second instalment in the series is a wonderful snapshot of ORI’s long-standing scientific collaboration in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO). Previous Director of ORI, Rudy van der Elst, was part of the scientific team that made the expedition to Madagascar and the uninhabited isle of Bassas da India – what an adventure! Click on the image for more info!
Have you ever wondered how to tell the age of a fish? Well, the third instalment in our Chronicles of The Oricle series answers that question. Former ORI scientist, Dr Anesh Govender, conducted research on this topic and successfully aged a range of species. In addition to other techniques, the otolith technique is still used today to determine the age of a fish! Click on the image for more info!
Chronicles of The Oricle - St Lucia Fish in Great Demand ORI SAAMBR
Almost 30 years ago, The Oricle featured the headline “St Lucia Fish in Great Demand!” Even then, there was growing concern about the sustainability of the system. For a glimpse back in time at Lake St Lucia, please read the extract from the fourth instalment of the Chronicles of The Oricle series by clicking on the image.
Chronicles of The Oricle 5 ORI SAAMBR
Does anyone remember the oil tanker, Katina P, which sank off the coast of Mozambique in April 1992, spilling 16,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil? Following this environmental disaster, ORI scientists found a way of using ghost crabs’ vulnerability to oil contamination as a means of monitoring oil pollution on our beaches. The results of this study are detailed in the fifth instalment of the Chronicles of The Oricle. Click on the image above.
Since inception (in 1951) ORI has conducted scientific research on sharks. This week’s Chronicles of The Oricle instalment from June 1993, features the initiatives by ORI and other research groups to focus on great white shark conservation. As apex predators, sharks play a critical role in marine ecosystems.
Since inception (in 1951) ORI has conducted scientific research on sharks. This week’s Chronicles of The Oricle instalment from June 1993, features the initiatives by ORI and other research groups to focus on great white shark conservation. As apex predators, sharks play a critical role in marine ecosystems.
The seine net fishing industry in Durban has a long history dating back to the 1850s! As indicated by the Chronicles of The Oricle instalment from October 1993, the seine-netters and SAAMBR also have a long history. This relationship continues today, as our Curatorial Team try to attend seine-netting activities, in the hope of collecting valuable specimens for display in the aquarium.
The seine net fishing industry in Durban has a long history dating back to the 1850s! As indicated by the Chronicles of The Oricle instalment from October 1993, the seine-netters and SAAMBR also have a long history. This relationship continues today, as our Curatorial Team try to attend seine-netting activities, in the hope of collecting valuable specimens for display in the aquarium.
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