Marine protected areas celebrated

2019-04-24 06:02
(From left) Tamryn Stephenson, Laure van Nijkerk, Jean Harris, Nicola Gerrard and Ruth Mthembu at the MPA celebratory event.PHOTO: Casey Pratt

(From left) Tamryn Stephenson, Laure van Nijkerk, Jean Harris, Nicola Gerrard and Ruth Mthembu at the MPA celebratory event.PHOTO: Casey Pratt

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A MARINE Protected Area (MPA) celebratory dinner was held at the dockside next to the Wildoceans’ research vessel Angra Pequena in Durban recently, to celebrate the announcement of 20 new and expanded MPAs by South Africa’s cabinet at the end of last year, and to honour all those who played a role in the success of the expansion.

The event, hosted by Wildoceans, which is situated in Hilton, (a programme of the Wildtrust) and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), highlighted the bold action taken in October last year, bringing the total protection of the oceans around South Africa up to five percent from 0,4%.

“Cabinet supported and agreed to 20 MPAs that would be established on reaching the five-percent target and what it means is that there is further work to bed them down and this is the process that is under way now,” said Judy Beaumont, deputy director general of Oceans and Coasts of the Department of Environmental Affairs.

Dr Jean Harris of Wildoceans thanked a list of countless partners, including Oceans 5, WWF-SA, Ocean Unite, the African Coelacanth Ecosystems Programme (ACEP), DEA and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) for their contributions in making the five-percent announcement possible.

Addressing the guests, Beaumont said: “Whether you’re a researcher, an activist, part of a community organisation, a non-government organisation or industry organisation, you’re here because you have an interest in MPAs; you’re here because you’re playing a part, you have played a part; you’re here because you will be playing a part, and if ever there was a need for partnering and partnerships in their different forms and working together to make it happen, it’s now, this is the time.” — Supplied.

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