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Honorary Associate Professor Sven Kerwath

Phone: 021 402 3017

Cell: 083 991 4641


Room No: JDay 3.28 (Colin Attwood’s lab, Thursdays)

Sven is a Specialist Scientist at the Fisheries Branch of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. He leads the Linefish, Large Pelagic and Shark research sections and is Chair of the Large Pelagic and Shark Scientific Working Group, tasked with providing scientific advice on the sustainable exploitation of tuna and sharks in South African waters.

Sven grew up in Erlangen, Bavaria, Germany, where he obtained a degree in Zoology. His MSc thesis on the ecology of the four-eyed fish Anablepsmicrolepis was about an animal that is found near - and sometimes on - the beaches of the tropical Caribbean Island, Trinidad. During his PhD at the Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Sciences at Rhodes University in South Africa, Sven’s studies moved deeper into the sea and his research methods included diving, tagging and acoustic telemetry.

Sven still conducts research on life-history, movement behaviour, spatio-temporal distribution and genetic diversity of South African fishes but collaborates on a wide range of fisheries and marine ecological research topics. Most of his research is applied and supports conservation and effective management of marine species under anthropogenic pressure in a variable, changing environment. Recent field research experience includes longline fishing surveys, tagging of swordfish, tuna and sharks, piloting Remotely Operated Vehicles in search of Coelacanths, and diving under the Antarctic winter ice to survey krill. He is equally enthusiastic about data analyses and statistical modelling, interrogating datasets to apply stock assessment, by-catch analyses and spatial distribution of marine species and habitats.

Sven regularly attends meetings for three Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), representing South Africa as Head of delegation at Scientific Committees of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). He is involved in the development of polices and permit conditions for South African fisheries.

In the last 14 years Sven has published more than 70 scientific papers, including papers in Nature Communications and Nature Ecology and Evolution, three book chapters and numerous reports to national and international fisheries management and conservation forums. He is an Associate Editor of Animal Conservation and he has supervised or co-supervised 14 MSc and 4 PhD students.

When he is not at sea, underwater or in front of a computer he enjoys music, fine arts, philosophy, sports climbing, reading and drinking copious amounts of coffee :).

Sven's Researchgate Profile

Sven's Google Scholar profile