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Searching for Sunfish

Searching for Sunfish

A citizen science programme for South African ocean users

Sunfish, known as the Molidae family, are a unique group of fish that have been poorly studied along the South African coastline despite their charisma and instant recognisability. Many gaps remain in our understanding of their population structure, diversity, and biology - critical information for their effective conservation.

The Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation supports a citizen science programme for the observation and recording of sunfish species in South African waters. Supported by a core community of regular ocean users and the general public, this project creates awareness and interest in these fascinating animals.

The data collected from this project is currently being used to support research by the Foundation and the University of Cape Town.

How can you assist?

All ocean users can aid this project by reporting sightings of any sunfish species to the Foundation on one of the channels below. This includes sighting of both living sunfish at sea and dead sunfish that have washed up on shore.

Try to give us as much information as possible, but especially:

  • Any photos of the sunfish you can take.
  • Its location (GPS pin is ideal).
  • The date and time of your sighting.
  • A brief description of any behaviours or oddities you may have noticed.

These can be reported to us on:

If you're a kayaker, sailor, working on a boat, freediver, microliter or any other regular ocean user, please keep this project in mind: you can never have too many reasons to take photos of quirky ocean sunfish.