Strengthening the effective management of the Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area (NIMPA) and expansion of MPA network in Namibia

Photo Credit: J Kemper
Grantee Namibia Nature Foundation Trust
Grant Amount 900000
Duration Three Years

The Namibian Islands Marine Protected Area (NIMPA) is Africa’s second largest proclaimed MPA. Situated along the southwestern coast of Namibia, the area incorporates almost 10 000km 2 of incredible marine biodiversity, islands and islets whose ecosystems are boosted by the very cold nutrient rich upwelling Benguela Current. It is also directly adjacent to two national parks as part of Namibia’s incredible protected coastal areas which cover almost all of the coastline of 1,572km. Since its proclamation, no formal management plan has been implemented, placing this very important MPA and its ecosystems at risk of losing important habitat and species as economic activities like mining and fishing amongst others, continue to operate in sensitive areas. Without an enforceable management plan and regulations, the NIMPA remains unprotected and does not serve its title as an MPA and makes future MPA designation and management challenging.

These shortcomings can ultimately have a negative impact on the national economy and local livelihoods for coastal communities. There is hence an urgent need to help the Namibian government mandated with MPA management and designation, to fulfil their duties and make the NIMPA and future MPAs become fully operational, meeting all conditions as is required by national legislation and aligning this with internationally accepted practices. Presently, there has been important progress achieved with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), who have responded to the initiation of a management plan and is currently revising regulations, with a management plan to follow. The MFMR are also coordinating and steering a national Sustainable

Blue Economy which is being developed through a Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) processes, which in turn is underpinned by extensive work on the review, realignment, and identification of Namibia’s Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs). This offers real opportunity to initiate systems for better MPA management and also paves the way for future MPA designation in order that Namibia can at least attain the 10% target, to which the President of Namibia committed to at the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy in September 2019.

Local leading conservation Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF), will continue to work with a broad array of partners to support the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) in establishing and resourcing a formal management plan to effectively manage the NIMPA. This will be supported by a concurrent process to drive future MPA delineation, designation and management by building up the ecological, social and economic arguments for marine protection and to bring these into the Blue Economy development to help carry the EBSA and MSP process forward to attain at least 10% of the EEZ as MPAs.