Port Elizabeth Corals MPA

"Kingklip Kingdom"

Offshore of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape

 

Between Port Elizabeth and Cape St Francis, a long narrow rocky ridge and series of underwater hills create a unique seascape on the continental slope.

Like many other MPAs this area is recognized as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area because of its importance in the life history of a wide variety of marine species and unique features at depths ranging from 200 to 5000 m. One of South Africa’s most valuable and delicious fishes, the kingklip, aggregate to spawn here, using drumming muscles to call to each other across the ocean. The petroleum industry advised that the original design of this MPA was not well placed to cover the seabed features it was proposed to protect. Scientists then surveyed and mapped the area and discovered the ridge. This information allowed for the re-design of the MPA, reducing the size to 270 km2 and better protecting the key coral habitats in the area. Unique coral species including the giant mushroom coral, a soft coral with larger than normal coral polyps. The area is adjacent to a seasonal fisheries management area that protects our overexploited kingklip during their spawning time. The health of coral relies on permanent closure to protect the three dimensional structure that plays an important role in the life history of one of our most precious seafood resources, it is the kingklip kingdom.

 

BENEFITS

  • PROTECTS AN Important spawning area for kingklip - a valuable fisheries resource

  • PROTECTS A Unique geological feature and coral ecosystems

  • SEABED PROTECTION INCREASES FISHERIES REVENUE BY MEETING ECOCERTIFICATION CONDITIONS