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Expedition Info

Expedition 2023

Expedition 2022

Expedition 2021

Expedition 2020

Expedition 2019








Watch the teams highlights from the 2021 expedition.


Read about our Ghost Fishing awareness program and other environmental educational and research on our Blog


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Expedition Reports.

On our 2019 expedition we recorded 117 Dirty Dozen surveys, 45 Plastic Bottle surveys and 904 Incidental Sightings.

Our findings can be read in the reports below.

1. Great Brak Report 2019


2. Duineveld Report 2019

3. Expedition Report 2020

4. Expedition Report 2022

5. Expedition Summary 2019 to 2022


Watch a video from the Strandloper Project Expedition.



Recovered tackle


Expedition 2019


SPE20 Team


SPE21 Team


SPE22 Team


SPE23 Team


Jono River Crossing




Coastal Research Hike
Finding a solution for recreational fishing pollution


Gericke's Point


Extending Research range

The survey transects at our three dives sites have revealed that recreational fishing debris, particularly debris from sports and shark fishing, do result in ghost fishing. While our focus during survey dives is on snagged fishing tackle, we can't ignore the presence of plastic pollution in the water and on the shoreline.


To establish a regional comparison with our baseline data from our dive site surveys, the Strandloper Project decided to conduct an expedition to compare plastic and fishing pollution along the coastline in the Southern Cape.


On our 2019 expedition, the reality of sea conditions and the daily distances that we had to hike meant that we could not really conduct many dive transects and the focus of our expedition turned to documenting plastic pollution and fishing debris.


Plastic pollution


Citizen Science expeditions


The Strandloper Project costal research expeditions have grown into a valuable coastal research project, building up a baseline database which offers insight into the extent of ocean plastic waste and fishing debris along 1000km of the South African coastline. We use survey methods which quantify and characterise plastic pollution and fishing debris that has washed up along the shoreline. To date we have conducted 5 expeditions and have hiked 965km of coastline to document and map plastic pollution and fishing debris.



Expedition Series 2024+.

We have completed 5 expeditions between 2019 and 2023, hiking between Hermanus in the west and Cape Recife in the east. For our next series of expeditions over five years, the plan is for our volunteer research team to retrace our steps, hiking in an eastward direction. We are wanting to extend the range of our survey hikes, starting at Prigle Bay and again finishing at Cape Recife.



Its all in the name.

The name Strandloper Project was chosen to represent the early human origins in the Southern Cape. Archeological evidence indicates that early Homo sapiens lived and foraged from the inter tidal zone along the shifting coastline of the region from 164,000 years ago.

It is proposed that the rapid development of early human cognitive thought developed in the Southern Cape as a result of the high phospholipid content of their marine diet.


shell midden


Cleaning up with Data

From regular beach hikes in the Garden Route it has become apparent that certain types of plastic pollution wash up at specific locations.

By accurately mapping the location of various categories of plastic found on the hike we were able to link it to possible sources.

Catergorizing and Quantifying Plastic Pollution

Basing some of your survey formats on the Beach Co-Op's Dirty Dozen plastic ssurvey protocol, we modified it to the Trashy 20, with three 10m x 2m transects conducted every 5km. The modification to the Trashy20 survey was based on the 20 most common plastic items that we docuemented, which included lost and discarded fishing equipment from both commercial and recreational fishing activities.

The Trashy20 transects are complimented by micro plastic transects, bottle transects and nurdle transects. We have also included a grading system for plastic pollution blowouts when the sheer volume of plastic in a location is to overwhelming to count induvidual items.

Dirty Dozen survey team


Shoreline Research Expedition.

In an attempt to ascertain the extent of recreational fishing debris along the southern Cape, in 2019 the Strandloper Project initiated an annual research expedition. Hiking between 180km and 220km on each expedition, the aim is to document the location and categories of plastic pollution and fishing debris in an attempt to determine the source of the plastic and determine which river systems it flows into the ocean from.


coastal research expedition


To date, the combined distance of the five completed expeditions between May 2019 and August 2023 is an impressive 965km of coastline surveyed, approximately 32% of the South African coastline. Our plastic surveys indicate that the bulk of the washed up plastic is from a terrestrial source which flushes out to the ocean from rivers. Due to the low rainfall of 2018, 2019 and 2020, most of the rivers and estuaries between Storms River and the Goukou Rivers were closed. We deduced that the bulk of the plastic flushed into the ocean during this period was from approximately 5 rivers along the southern Cape coastline.





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