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 MPA was proclaime in 2019 and 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) and many other invertebrates that provide food for fish. As the Agulhas sole is one of the flatfishes targeted by inshore trawlers, fish lovers will be pleased to know that some of the habitat of this delicately flavoured seafood is protected. The MPA also provides a reference area to conduct research on mud habitats. This helps scientists understand how fish use these mud habitats, information that is needed to support eco-certification of the inshore trawl fishery, allowing access to more lucrative markets.



  • protects Critically endangered good condition mud habitat in an area of that has been disturbed by trawling and exploration for oil

  • Supports hake fishery eco-certification

  • supports recovery of Agulhas sole

  • provides baseline for research on mud habitats