The Cape Navigator

Seaside Community Newspaper

Cape Town, Nature

SANParks Initiates Management Plan for Robben Island Marine Protected Area

Michael Hawthorne

In a significant move towards the conservation of South Africa’s marine biodiversity, the South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced the commencement of the Management Plan for the Robben Island Marine Protected Area (MPA). This initiative falls under the broader framework of Table Mountain National Park and aims to engage the public in shaping the future of this vital marine ecosystem.

The consultative process invites members of the public to actively participate and contribute to the development of the draft MPA’s Management Plan. This comprehensive document will play a pivotal role in guiding the transformation of the MPA from its current state to an envisioned future, encompassing key aspects such as the biophysical context, desired state, zonation, and strategic and operational programs.

MPAs play a crucial role in expanding South Africa’s conservation efforts, contributing significantly to the protection of oceans, islands, and coastal habitats. They serve as essential sanctuaries for threatened species, including penguins, while also aiding in the rehabilitation of overexploited species such as line fish, abalone, and rock lobster.

As part of the engagement process, SANParks has scheduled three public information sessions in mid-February. Two of these sessions will be conducted in person, providing a platform for face-to-face interaction, while the third will be a virtual session for wider accessibility. These sessions are designed to allow participants to provide valuable input and comments on the draft Robben Island MPA Management Plan.

The draft plan itself is a result of collaborative workshops held last year involving stakeholders and SANParks staff. SANParks emphasizes the importance of the active involvement of relevant stakeholders, interested and affected parties, authorities, and the general public in shaping the future of the Robben Island Marine Protected Area.

In the coming weeks, SANParks will publish the details and arrangements for the public meetings, including relevant contact information. This marks a crucial opportunity for all concerned parties to contribute towards the sustainable management and conservation of the Robben Island Marine Protected Area, ensuring the preservation of its unique ecological treasures for generations to come.


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