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Robben Island joins list of 20 new protected marine sites in South Africa by Alison Kock June 27,2019   |  Source: Down to Earth

South Africa’s Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries recently declared 20 marine sites as protected areas. One of them is Robben Island, the site of the prison where anti-apartheid activists including Nelson Mandela were jailed for decades. The Conversation’s Nontobeko Mtshali asked Alison Kock to explain the significance and what the decision means for the area and surrounding environment.

What is a marine protected area and are these unique to South Africa?

Marine protected areas are geographically distinct regions of the ocean that are given special protection under law. They are used worldwide to address over-exploitation of marine resources and safeguard them for future generations.

In the context of South Africa, marine protected areas are used to protect marine species, habitats and cultural heritage. They’re also designed to restore over-exploited marine stocks, promote research and eco-tourism and protect coastal and offshore habitats. South Africa has 136 coastal and marine habitat types, from the coastal nesting grounds of leatherback and loggerhead turtles of iSimangaliso, to the unique coral and gravel habitats of the Amathole Offshore marine protected area. The addition of the new protected area network means that 90% of these habitat

Theme(s): Communities and Organisations, Fisheries Development and Aquaculture, Fisheries Resources, Post Harvest Technology and Trade, Freshwater ecosystems and threats, Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods, Landing Centres, Others, Coastal Ecosystems and Threats.

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