Browns Bank Corals MPA

"coral Kaleidoscope"

South of Cape Town, Western Cape


On the western edge of the Agulhas Bank are three patches of sea floor where trawlers do not venture. 

This 300 km2 MPA was proclaimed in 2019 and consists of three separate areas that cover a depth range of 280 and 550 m. In earlier days when fishing trawlers first explored this area they damaged their nets on the rugged bottom topography. They found fossilized corals in the northern area, which hold clues to past climates. First surveys in the central and southern areas revealed bottlebrush soft corals that were full of fish eggs and unidentified stony corals. Young South African scientists are currently studying these corals, which may yield new species previously unknown to science. The region supports several types of deep sea coral and important spawnings grounds for hake. The MPA helps to protect hake and maintain the economic benefits of this valuable fishery. It also provides opportunities for current and future scientists to make amazing ocean discoveries.



  • Cold water corals preserve records of past climates

  • Protects corals that are important for the eggs and larvae of fish

  • Protects hake spawning area

  • maintains Hake fishery eco-certification, providing food and job security