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MPAs help manage part of the marine environment...

to promote fisheries sustainability, keep marine ecosystems working properly, and protect the range of species living there, helping people to benefit from the ocean.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is “a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are jointly managed by SANParks and Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife.

The marine protected areas of South Africa are in an area of coastline or ocean within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of South Africa that is protected in terms of specific legislation for the benefit of the environment and the people who live in and use it.

South Africa’s marine and coastal environment is of vital importance.  It impacts on the livelihoods of people and contributes to the rich biodiversity profile of South Africa.

Many South Africans rely on these ecosystems for fishing, whether for commercial, subsistence or recreational purposes.

Climate change is having an impact on marine species and ecosystems, decreasing their resilience and threatening coastal communities and livelihoods. A number of fish stocks are also overexploited and several fish species threatened.

Over 3800 marine species living in South African waters are found nowhere else in the world.  The rich diversity of coastal and ocean ecosystems in South Africa are protected through a network of 42 Marine Protected Areas.

The complexity of South Africa’s 2,850 km coastline and its varied oceans have resulted in a wide diversity of coastal marine ecosystems thriving with life. Some of the most impressive coastal marine ecosystems in South Africa are safeguarded through a network of Marine Protected Areas.