Agulhas front MPA
South of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
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 MPA was proclaimed in 2019 and is the farthest offshore of all MPAs, protecting both seabed and open ocean habitats. The seabed ranges from 2200 to 4100 m and includes four deep sea habitat types of the Southwest Indian Ocean lower slope. The MPA protects the Agulhas Plateau and provides the first protection to the abyssal plain, which is the deep flat area of the ocean basin. The Agulhas 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. It rises more than 2 km from the seabed and has yet to be explored by marine biologists. This deep offshore MPA protects the core foraging area of Critically Endangered Leatherback Turtles. This “Turtle Tuckshop” is within an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area (EBSA) and is recognised for its role in the life history of tuna and seabirds.
protects Core feeding area of critically endangered leatherback turtles
protects High diversity of deep sea habitats
preserves area important for the Life history of large pelagic fish
protects Feeding areas of juvenile and adult albatrosses