Agulhas front MPA

"Turtle Tuckshop"

200 km south of Port Elizabeth

 

From surface feeding seabirds, tuna and turtles to the unique seabed creatures some 4000 m below, the Agulhas Front sustains a wide variety of life.

This 6200 km2 proposed MPA is the furthest offshore of all the MPAs and protects several seabed and open ocean habitat types ranging from 2200 to 4100 m. The deep offshore MPA incorporates the core foraging habitat of Critically Endangered Leatherback Turtles. This “Turtle Tuckshop” is within an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) recognised for its role in the life history of tuna and seabirds. The establishment of this MPA will help to protect and manage this EBSA. The area includes four deep sea habitat types of the Southwest Indian Ocean lower slope and provides the first protection to the abyss, the flat deep plain in this ocean basin and a feature known as the Agulhas Plateau. This plateau rises more than 2 km from the seabed and has yet to be explored by marine biologists. The plateau formed more than 100 million years ago at the “triple junction" where the historic continent of Gondwanaland broke into Africa, Antarctica and South America.

 

BENEFITS

  • protects Core feeding area of critically endangered leatherback turtles

  • protects High deep sea habitat diversity

  • Life history importance for large pelagic fish

  • Feeding areas for juvenile and adult albatrosses