On the 23 May 2019 20 new or extended marine protected areas (MPAs) were declared in South Africa’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This brings the level of spatial protection up to 5% of our EEZ.
Click on the links below to download the Government Gazette files in pdf format.
Addo Elephant National Park
Namaqua Fossil Forest
Namaqua National Park
Orange Shelf Edge
Southeast Atlantic Seamounts
Southwest Indian Seamount
Protection of these special places and traditional ways of life help to keep our connections to the past, as we care for our future.
MPAs are amazing outdoor classrooms. Students of all ages can explore and enjoy nature in our MPAs.
MPAs are wonderful places for research – they help us to see what nature should look like without human impact, so that we can better understand the impact that we are having outside MPAs.
South Africa is a prime destination for ocean and coastal tourism, a growing sector within the world tourism market. Protecting our oceans and coast is an investment in future tourism growth.
MPAs can provide sustainable jobs for many people such as those associated with the marine wildlife economy, such as tour guiding, scuba diving, shark cage diving, turtle, bird and whale watching are all possible close to protected areas. MPAs also create jobs linked directly to the MPA, including field rangers, park managers, gate staff, hospitality staff, maintenance staff and in-house educators.
MPAs help support economic development. A health ocean economy needs healthy oceans. Without some protection we stand the real risk of destroying the foundation upon which all of our fisheries and much tourism depends. Healthy oceans are necessary for a healthy economy, job creation and healthy people.
In 1947 the uniqueness of the northern Zululand coast was recognised by the scientists who collaborated to establish SAAMBR. In the early 1970s, ORI recognised that MPAs were critical ingredients for effective conservation and management of our oceans and ORI scientists Allan Heydorn and Rudy van der Elst were instrumental in helping the then Natal Parks Board (now Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife) to establish the St Lucia Marine Reserve in northern Zululand (proclaimed in 1979). This was followed by the proclamation of the adjacent Maputaland Marine Reserve in 1986. Since then ORI scientists have undertaken many long-term research and monitoring projects in these MPAs which now form part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first World Heritage Site proclaimed in 1999.
Although it took nearly 20 years before the Aliwal Shoal MPA was eventually proclaimed in 2004, ORI scientists including Michael Schleyer piloted the protection of Aliwal, highlighting the importance of this area and chairing many difficult user group meetings.
ORI scientists, including Bruce Mann, played a leading role in the establishment in 2004 of the Pondoland MPA, which is currently South Africa’s largest MPA at ~800km2. Since its establishment, ORI has played an important role in monitoring the effectiveness of this large MPA with regard to the recovery of reef fish stocks.
More recently, ORI scientists have been involved in research that has contributed to the selection of a network of new or extended MPAs. While this conservation process is being led by organisations such as the South African National Biodiversity Institute and the Department of Environmental Affairs, ORI scientists have participated or led numerous projects and play a crucial role in supporting the process. They were integral participants in the Operation Phakisa Lab in Durban and assisted in many of the stakeholder workshops. Hopefully we will see the offshore extension of both the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and the Aliwal Shoal MPAs in the near future as well as the proclamation of two new MPAs off the KZN coast, namely the uThukela Banks and the Protea Banks MPAs.