By: Judy Mann
On World Ocean Day 2021 SAAMBR was excited to be a part of an alliance of NGOs who successfully launched Africa’s first Marine Protected Area Day. This special day will be celebrated on the 1 August 2021. Out of the over 140 different Environmental Days celebrated around the world, until now there has been no day dedicated to MPAs and the role of MPAs in ocean management and conservation. One of the reasons for initiating MPA Day was that our research in the uShaka Sea World aquarium revealed that very few people know much about protected areas in the ocean. As South Africans we are familiar with terrestrial protected areas – but not their ocean counterparts. Just like national parks help protect animals and habitats on land, marine protected areas help safeguard areas of the ocean and marine animals. By looking after these special areas we can contribute to biodiversity conservation and the blue economy.
By joining with people all over South Africa in celebrating MPA Day on the 1 August 2021 we will make a clear statement that no matter where we live, we can all help to protect the ocean and thus ensure that the ocean continues to support us. Our fate is closely tied to the health of our ocean, and MPAs are one of the best ways to ensure ocean health. MPAs are also important for South Africa to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi target 11: to protect 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020, which is echoed in the CBD Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. In fact – MPAs support SDG 14 Life under Water and bolster several other SDG targets such as 1: No Poverty; 2: Zero Hunger; 13: Climate Action.
For more information about MPA Day and to find out how you can be involved follow
Facebook: Marine Protected Areas SA (@MPASouthAfrica ) or have a look at the www.marineprotectedareas.org.za website.