iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s marine protected area thrives

iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s marine protected area thrives

All the work that the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) has put into the wetland has finally paid off.


Protecting our local wetlands is a vital and important project and after countless hours of hard work, the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (Saambr) has shared a video detailing the exceptional progress made in its marine protected area (MPA) in iSimangaliso Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

The video shows a variety of fish thriving in the protected area in a video that was shot during a recent Saambr fish-tagging trip.

“Fish of this diversity and abundance are seldom seen outside protected areas. It just goes to show that MPAs really do work – protecting fish, supporting people and ultimately taking care of our planet,” Saambr said in a statement.

There are currently five MPAs spread along the KZN coastline which the organisation says have been constructed to ensure the continuation of the endangered and different fish species that live in each specific area.

Additionally, there are other MPAs spread out around South Africa’s coastline from iSimangaliso Wetland Park in the northernmost part of KZN all the way around the Cape of Good hope at the Namaqua Fossil Forest in the Western Cape.

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“They also help protect the places where marine animals breed and grow up. For example, our estuaries are critical nursery habitats for many prawn and fish we like to eat. No healthy nurseries for the little fish, no big fish to eat,” Saambr explained.

According to team leader Dr Bruce Mann, since the MPA evaluation back in April 2006, the organisation has used multiple methods to successfully monitor the area. These methods include tag-recapture, underwater visual census, baited remote underwater video and monitoring movements of fish tagged with acoustic transmitters.

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“From this research, it is very clear that the no-take area in the Pondoland MPA is providing an important refuge for many overexploited fish species,” Mann said.

Image courtesy: Saambr

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