South Africa: Minister Edna Molewa Approves the Rezonation of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr BEE Molewa, has approved the rezonation of the Tsitsikamma Marine Protected Area (MPA) to allow limited fishing by members of local communities.

The Tsitsikamma National Park Marine Protected Area Declaration Notice was published in GN 1578 in Government Gazette 40510 while the regulations were published in GN R. 1579 in Government Gazette 40511 on Monday, 19 December 2016. The publications were made in terms of section 22A of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003.

The Regulations grant permission for local communities to fish 20% of the coastline in 3 areas of the MPA.

The rezonation follows an extensive public participation process, including extended engagements with local communities. This included consideration of the socio-economic circumstances of the area concerned as well as the biological resources of the area.

The objectives of the rezonation include, inter alia, marine biodiversity conservation and direct (reasonable access to the MPA and its biological resources) and indirect (socio-economic opportunities, such as, local jobs and tourism development) community benefits.

Whilst no-take MPAs are effective in achieving protection of marine resources and biodiversity, by definition they exclude reasonable access for the local communities to marine resources. Members of the local communities around the Tsitsikamma MPA have been excluded from fishing in the MPA to increasing degrees since 1975. The regulations seek to provide equitable access to marine resources for local communities.

The Park will commence with the registration process, as stipulated in the gazette, on the 27th December 2017.

Source: Department of Environmental Affairs