The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) gazetted the three new MPAs last week on and once executed will increase the conservation footprint of SA’s oceans from 0.43% to 5%.
The three news areas are:
- Addo Elephant National Park MPA in the Eastern Cape;
- Robben Island MPA (to be managed by Table Mountain National Park) in the Western Cape; and
- Namaqua National Park MPA in the Northern Cape – all of which form part of the 20 new national MPAs gazetted last week.
TourismUpdate.co.za reports the declaration is the culmination of years of work by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI,) SANParks, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the DEA.
SANParks National Marine Co-ordinator, Dr Ané Oosthuizen, told TourismUpdate, the new MPAs will contribute to the conservation of our oceans, islands and coastal habitats, protect threatened species such as penguins and rebuild overexploited species such as line-fish, abalone and rock lobster. They will help secure ecosystem services, support recreational, tourism and educational activities, as well as subsistence, recreational and commercial fishing. MPAs help keep ecosystems resilient in the face of climate change.”
The planning of some of these MPAs started as far back as 2006, with hundreds of planning and stakeholder meetings and negotiations with communities and industries taking place, including oil and gas, mining, fisheries, and aquaculture. Lawyers and planners invested five years to develop the size, shape and regulations for the MPAs.