Giant leap for healthy oceans
On Thursday, 23 May 2019, the declaration notices and regulations for 20 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were published in an extraordinary issue of the South African Government Gazette (Issues 42478 and 42479). This small step represents a giant leap for ocean protection in South Africa.
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) provided substantial technical and scientific support to the establishment of this new network of Marine Protected Areas which increases ocean protection tenfold in a single step.
The regulations take effect on 1 August 2019. This network of 20 new MPAs will considerably advance South Africa’s efforts to protect our ocean heritage for future generations. They will help fisheries resources recover, contribute to food and job security, help maintain resilience in ecosystems that are under stress from climate change and support marine tourism.
The new MPAs add approximately 50 000 km2 to South Africa’s protected area estate, an area bigger than the country of Denmark and more than twice the size of Kruger National Park. These new MPAs contribute to protection of both the Southeast Atlantic and the Southwest Indian Ocean – a uniquely South African contribution to global ocean protection!
In just 5% of the ocean area, 87% of South Africa’s different marine ecosystem types will receive some protection. This includes the first protection for marine habitats in Namaqualand, South Africa’s seamounts in both oceans, muddy ecosystems on the west, south and east coast and protection of the marine environment around South Africa’s iconic Robben Island.
Dr Kerry Sink
Cell: 082 831 0536
Tel.: 021 799 8855