Some of the surveys that will be conducted at the MPA over the next few months will be to determine the different types of animal species. File picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency
Some of the surveys that will be conducted at the MPA over the next few months will be to determine the different types of animal species. File picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Helderberg Marine Protected Area to be monitored for next six months

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Mar 11, 2021

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Cape Town - South Africa’s oldest and smallest Marine Protected Area (MPA), the Helderberg MPA, is set to undergo an extensive ecological monitoring exercise for the next six months.

The City, which manages the MPA on behalf of the National Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries, said the exercise formed a part of its management responsibility of the MPA, to measure and determine the abundance and diversity of the marine environment.

According to the City, the Environmental Management Department, together with a group of top marine scientists, will this week begin their six-month project at the MPA based in False Bay.

Head of the City’s Coastal Management, Greg Oelofse, said: “At this stage, we know very little about what exists in the MPA. We don’t know the ecological health or the levels of abundance and diversity of marine species within the Helderberg MPA.

“While this will be the first time we will conduct such an extensive monitoring exercise at the MPA, it is important that we know what the MPA holds and exactly how healthy it is, especially since this particular one is a no-take MPA where there has been no fishing for over 60 years.

“Knowing not only the health of the MPA but what it holds will help us understand how best we can conserve it and promote its health and measure the abundance of species it currently holds,” said Oelofse.

Some of the surveys that will be conducted at the MPA over the next few months will be to determine the different types of animal species, to understand the extensive fish tag-and-release programme from both the shoreline and boats, as well as the acoustic tagging of 10 fish and two sharks at the Helderberg MPA.

Mayco Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt said: “I am confident that our officials have the appropriate skillset and expertise to facilitate it for the benefit of all South Africans and our marine environment. We are looking forward to the outcomes and findings, which we believe will be fascinating and interesting to all.”

Cape Argus

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