Marine Conservation on the KZN South Coast
The KZN South Coast displays an amazing variety of marine life along its shores! This marine life is what attracts visitors from all around the country and even the world to come and marvel at what nature has to offer.
What is even more important than having marine life along the coastline, is protecting it, and the KZN South Coast has been committed to conserving marine life over the years. There are many different types of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) around South Africa, but there are two well-known MPA’s along the KZN South Coast – Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal. An MPA is an area of coastline or ocean that is specially protected for the benefit of people and nature. MPA’s are like underwater parks, the “Kruger National Park of the oceans”, safe havens for marine creatures and their homes.
These are national treasures, where we and our children and grandchildren, can explore and experience the wonders of nature. They are places where marine life can thrive, reproduce and grow.
MPA’s are an insurance policy for healthy ocean systems and healthy ocean economies, and are an investment in our own future well-being. They also help protect the places where marine animals breed and grow up. People can enjoy a variety of adventures in a MPA including a dive, walk, swim, play and a wide range of non-consumptive activities.
The Aliwal Shoal MPA is located between the Lovu and Mzimayi estuaries and is home to a popular diving destination, it is known for its big marine life and diverse diving experiences from shark diving to reef and beautiful wreck dives. Aliwal Shoal MPA is famous for its deep reefs and pinnacles with ancient corals growing on fossilised sand dunes. It is also a historic spawning ground of the critically endangered seabream – seventy four. The Shoal boasts spectacular shark diving opportunities with raggedtooth sharks, tiger sharks and blacktip sharks which attract international tourists and film crews each year.
Protea Banks MPA, near Shelly Beach, is a ‘shark Sanctuary’ with spectacular deep reefs , canyons and caves as well as diverse sponges and soft corals. Protea Banks is an aggregation site for seven shark species including huge packs of hammerhead sharks. It is also the only known aggregation site of giant guitarfish.
A popular attraction on the KZN South Coast is the Sardine Run that occurs every year and contributes toward the tourism economy in the area, which in turn assists the MPA’s as well.
Both MPA’s play a vital role in ecotourism and their importance cannot be underestimated. Having fun on a beach holiday would be incomplete without knowing that the marine life surrounding us in the ocean, is safe and there for all to marvel at, for decades to come!
The KZN South Coast is a great example of how protecting marine life leads to positive outcomes, for the life underwater and those visiting. Without MPA’s, ecotourism along the coast would cease to exist, they are the South Coast’s heroes!
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