Celebrating the nature reserves of the seas

MPA Day, on Tuesday August 1, celebrates the value of the protected ocean areas for people’s lives.

The Two Oceans Aquarium is calling all recreational anglers to participate in a webinar on some of the pros and cons of South Africa’s marine protected areas (MPA) at 7pm on Tuesday August 1.

The date also marks annual MPA Day, which celebrates the value of these protected ocean areas, according to the aquarium’s spokeswoman, Heather Wares.

For children, there is a treasure hunt, on Saturday August 5, from 10.30am to 1pm at Dalebrook Tidal Pool, part of the Table Mountain National Park MPA.

Meanwhile, SANParks spokeswoman Lauren Clayton said the Table Mountain National Park and the Sea Change Project would hold a panel discussion and short film about the park’s MPAs at its head office, in Tokai Park, on Tuesday August 1, from 10am to 11.30am.

Ms Clayton said the seas around the Cape Peninsula were rich in marine biodiversity because it was where the cold Benguela and warm Agulhas currents mixed.

The 1 000km² Table Mountain National Park MPA spans the waters off the Cape Peninsula from Mouille Point in the north to Muizenberg in the south.

Ms Clayton said that while fishing is allowed in most of the MPA, it has six restricted areas with five “no take” zones where no fishing or extractive activities are allowed. In the sixth restricted area around the Karbonkelberg, Hout Bay, only snoek can be caught deeper than the 35m contour.

“These restricted or ”no-take” zones are important breeding and nursery areas for marine life, and through leaving these undisturbed, there will ultimately be an increase in marine stock and threatened species are given a chance to regenerate,“ said Ms Clayton.

The MPA is managed by Table Mountain National Park in conjunction with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

DFFE spokesman Peter Mbelengwa said MPAs contributed to the sustainability of fisheries, in turn, supporting livelihoods and boosting the economy.

In South Africa, at least 3.6 million people depend on coastal food resources for subsistence.

To find out how you can register for the webinar, contact the aquarium at 021 418 3823. If you are interested in viewing the short film, RSVP to Babalwa.Dlangamandla@sanparks.org by today, Friday July 28.

For other MPA Day 2023 events, visit mpaday.org.