Michael Carnegie



Conservation history

The information on this page deals with my involvement with conservation work up until the time I began developing the marine wilderness ideas that I am working with today. There is plenty of information about the work I have been doing in recent years for anybody interested on the Marine wilderness page.


I grew up in a family of scientists and conservationists. My Grandfather was head of the Zoology Dept at Rhodes University and both my parents are scientists. From a young age an interest in nature was encouraged and we spent plenty of time in the game reserves.

I planned to study marine biology at Rhodes University but Studied Fine-art instead. I left university in 1983 after a year to go to sea as a navigator with Unicorn lines and then worked for Safmarine lines as a marine engineer. Following this I did my national service in 1987/88 with the SA Navy where I qualified and worked as a diver. During this time at sea I learned about the marine life along the SA coastline and deep sea from books.

Following national service in 1989/90 I worked as a river guide on the Orange river in the Richtersveld. I then returned to Durban where I worked as a lifeguard on the beachfront from 1991 to 2000. During this time I worked at Seaworld as a volunteer diver which involved feeding the fish and sharks in the main tanks as well as maintaining these and the foyer tanks. I also did dives to collect specimens and helped out with various jobs at the aquarium.

During this time I became involved with conservation issues involving surfers. The piers along the beachfront had been opened to fishing and this was causing friction between fishermen and surfers. We began petitions to try to help this situation. While working in Jeffreys Bay together with locals we began petitions asking for a marine sanctuary to be made of the area from Boneyards to Albatross.

In Durban I worked with SEA (Surfers Environmental Association) who would meet at my home on Durban Beachfront. Because I worked as a lifeguard for Durban corporation I needed to work to find solutions in the best interests of all parties involved in the various disputes so needed to be careful about taking sides. I made arrangements to bring people together to discuss environmental issues and try to sort out problems.

I developed sea kayak tours in the Durban area and working with friends from the Wilderness Leadership School applied wilderness ideas to these outings in local areas. This was the start of the marine wilderness programme that I am now developing.


More info about the marine wilderness work I have been doing can be seen on the Marine wilderness page

If you are interested you can see more info about the conservation work I have been doing by following the links at the side of the page.