Marine resources

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
The MPAs are modelled on the success of the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park – with strict zoning of both marine and coastal protected areas. The four MPAs are Aliwal Shoal on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, the coastal and marine environment next to Pondoland in the Eastern Cape, Bird Island at Algoa Bay and the Cape Peninsula in the Western Cape.

Some of the protection measures to be implemented in the MPAs are restrictions for people who want to fish, as well as restrictions for stowing fishing gear when fishing from a vessel.
Marine resources
The sustainable exploitation of marine resources, on the one hand, and the demand for fish products from local and foreign consumers, on the other, pose a growing challenge globally, and South Africa, with its 3 000 km-long coastline, is no exception. The Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 sets out the broad objectives of fishery management and access rights. It also sets empowerment and broad transformation objectives for the fishing industry. South Africa’s fisheries are among the best-managed in the world.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has completed the allocation of long-term commercial fishing rights of eight to 15 years in 20 fishing sectors. Out of more than 8 000 applicants for fishing rights, 2 480 were granted long-term fishing rights, with 59% of these being Black Economic Empowerment-compliant. By mid-2008, a performance review process of the commercial fishery rights’ allocation was underway and draft policies on the transfer of commercial fishing rights and allocation of large pelagics had been published. To complete the allocation process, the department is working on a revised Policy on Subsistence/Small-Scale Fisheries.

South Africa has four environmental-protection vessels, namely the Victoria Mxenge, Lilian Ngoyi, Sarah Baartman and Ruth First.

The patrol vessels – all named after women who showed courage, dedication and commitment to the struggle for freedom – are used in assisting with high-speed disaster relief, search and rescue, evacuations, firefighting, pollution control, towing and other emergency operations. The Florence Mkhize speed vessel assists in combating poaching.

South African beaches participate in the Blue Flag Campaign, which works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas. This includes environmental education and information for the public, decision-makers and tourism operators.

South Africa’s coastal-management policy is one of the best in the world, with the country being the first outside Europe to gain Blue Flag status for coastal management.

South Africa’s Blue Flag beaches 2008/09

Eastern Cape

  • Dolphin Beach, Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth
  • Humewood Beach, Port Elizabeth
  • Kelly’s Beach, Port Alfred
  • Kings Beach, Port Elizabeth
  • Wells Estate, north of Port Elizabeth


  • Hibberdene Beach, south coast
  • Margate Beach, south coast
  • Marina/San Lameer Beach, south coast
  • Ramsgate Beach, south coast

Western Cape

  • Bikini Beach, Gordon’s Bay
  • Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town
  • Clifton 4th Beach, Cape Town
  • Grotto Beach, Hermanus
  • Hawston Beach, near Hermanus
  • Lappiesbaai Beach, Stilbaai
  • Mnandi Beach, Cape Town
  • Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town
  • Strandfontein Beach, Cape Town

Image: South Africa’s marine resources offer massive opportunities for tourism, recreation, food, export and associated economic development.