Monitoring the Effectiveness of the Pondoland MPA in the Protection of Line Fish and other Marine Resources

ORI undertook a subtidal marine biodiversity survey of the proposed Pondoland MPA during 2002 and 2003 as a contract for Marine and Coastal Management (MCM). The Pondoland MPA was subsequently proclaimed in June 2004. During 2004-2006 ORI was contracted by MCM on an annual basis, through the provincial MCM/NRF funding route, to assist with the development and implementation of a suitable monitoring programme to evaluate the effectiveness of this MPA. In early 2007 a three-year contract was signed between ORI and MCM to continue this project in terms of direct transfer payments. At the end of March 2007 this contract expired and MCM was unable to renew the contract. As a result, a new one-year contract was established between ORI and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) (1 August 2009 – 31 July 2010) with funding provided by the Wild Coast Project for ongoing monitoring of the Pondoland MPA. Monitoring programmes in MPAs are necessarily a long-term commitment and should ultimately be the responsibility of the MPA management authority concerned.  However, in the case of the Pondoland MPA, initial responsibilities were not clearly allocated between national (MCM now split into Department of Environmental Affairs – DEA; and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – DAFF) and provincial (ECPTA) management agencies. Nevertheless, as the MPA had already been proclaimed and there were few monitoring systems in place, this project was designed to provide the initial framework for monitoring MPA effectiveness and to assist with the implementation of the management plan for this MPA, including the provision of appropriate staff training. This project also aimed to build linkages with other MPA initiatives such as the WWF-SA MPA training programme.