It has taken over over a decade of planning to increase South Africa's Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which started as far back as 2006.
According to SANParks National Marine Co-ordinator, Dr Ané Oosthuizen,hundreds of planning and stakeholder meetings and negotiations with communities and industries such as oil and gas, mining, fisheries, and aquaculture took place. Planners and lawyers spent five years developing the shape, size and regulations for these MPAs with many compromises on all sides.
This increased our protected oceans from 0.43% to 5%, and three of the new areas fall under the management of South Africa's National Parks (SANParks) - the Addo Elephant National Park MPA, Robben Island MPA (to be managed by Table Mountain National Park) and Namaqua National Park MPA.
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 linefish, abalone and rocklobster, helping to 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.