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. 

Several types of deepsea coral have been found in these areas and in earlier days, when trawlers explored the area, they damaged their nets on these rough grounds where hake are known to spawn. This proposed MPA consists of three separate areas totalling about 300 km2 in size and covering a depth range of 280 and 550 m. Fishermen have found fossilized corals in the northern area and these may hold clues to our past climate. 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. Who knows, South Africa’s oceans may yield brand new species of deepsea coral. Protection of these areas helps to maintain the economic benefits of South Africa’s valuable hake fishery, preserve our climate history and provide opportunities for current and future scientists to make amazing ocean discoveries.



  • Cold water corals hold climate record and provide refuge for eggs and larvae of fish

  • Protects hake spawning area

  • Hake fishery eco-certification support contributes to food and job security