Agulhas Mud MPA

"Sole Food"

South of Cape Agulhas, Western Cape

 

In a world where demand on fisheries is high, mud flats provide vital refuges for sole, one of the main flatfishes targeted by the inshore trawl fishery.

Mud ecosystems in South Africa have suffered from reduced riverine flow and a century of trawling for sole, silver kob and other seafood species. This 207 km2 proposed MPA protects critically endangered shallow mud habitats between 80 and 100 m. Carefully selected to avoid prime trawl and mining grounds, the habitat in the area is in good condition. Recent sampling of this area revealed unidentified mud prawns (with pink stripes), many worms and other small invertebrates that provide food for fish. As the Agulhas sole is one of the flatfishes targeted by inshore trawlers, fish lovers will be pleased that some of the habitat of this delicately flavoured seafood favourite will receive some protection. The proposed MPA will provide a reference area in which to conduct research on mud habitats. This will help scientists understand how fish such as sole use mud habitats, information that will support eco-certification of the inshore trawl fishery, allowing access to more lucrative markets.

 

BENEFITS

  • Critically endangered mud habitat in good condition – trawled and wellheads over most of this area

  • Supports hake fishery eco-certification

  • supports recovery of Agulhas sole