Establishing an MPA Network in South Africa

De Hoop MPA, Reef Fish community, Steve Benjamin

The WILDOCEANS’ MPA Campaign is a collaborative one, with a goal of achieving 10 percent protection of South Africa’s oceans within MPAs by 2020. The campaign iswill building support amongst public and ocean stakeholders for marine protected areas (MPAs), by creating awareness of their value for provision of ecosystem services, ocean risk mitigation, food security, ecotourism benefits, moderation of climate change and improving resilience to impacts of other global stressors.

This campaign will counter the positioning of the oil and mining sector (hydrocarbon and mineral extraction) as a viable and important driver of blue ocean economies, that are in competition with MPA’s, by exposing the risks and impacts of these activities on social, economic and environmental resilience of developing countries.

In October 2018, the South African Cabinet approved 20 new or expanded MPAs and the Government finalized these protected areas in early 2019. This new network of protected areas totals 50,000 km2 or 5 percent of South Africa’s continental EEZ.

Ultimately WILDOCEANS hope to lead the way to a regional movement for increased protection across all African national waters and Africa’s Southern Ocean territories, aimed at meeting the current MPA target of 10 percent by 2020, but paving the way to African states supporting a global target of 30 percent strongly protected by 2030.