1 Nov 2018 - Acting Environmental Affairs Minister Derek Hanekom says a network of 20 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) will considerably advance South Africa's efforts to protect its ocean heritage for future generations.
Cabinet approved the declaration of 20 MPAs on Wednesday as part of the Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy MPAs Representative Network.
Hanekom welcomed the announcement, saying it will increase ocean protection within the South African Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to 5%.
"The [MPAs] will contribute to fisheries sustainability, advance marine ecotourism and help maintain resilience in ecosystems that are under stress from climate change," Hanekom said.
Work on the new approved network of MPAs dates back to 2014, when the South African government endorsed a plan to achieve, as part of Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy, a viable network of MPAs.
Hanekom said South Africa's ocean space, which is one of the most varied in the world, is highly productive, with rich biodiversity providing living and non-living resources that contribute significantly to the country's economy and to job creation.
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