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.

This 270 km2 MPA was proclaimed in 2019 and ranges from 200 m to 5000 m. The 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, including Kingklip. This fish is one of South Africa’s most valuable commercial species and have been severely overexploited. A seasonal fisheries management area that borders on the MPA was established to protect kingklip during their spawning season, when they aggregate in their thousands. To gather in the same place, scientists have found that they use specialiased drumming muscles to communicate across the ocean. The MPA protects important seabed features that provide important habitat for corals, including the giant mushroom coral, which is a soft coral with unusually large coral polyps. These three-dimensional structure of these deep coral reefs are important nursery areas for kingklip, as they provide protection to young fish. The health of kingklip populations and the coral ecosystems on which they depend is reliant on permanent closure of this area to destructive fishing practices. This is the kingklip kingdom.



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

  • PROTECTS A Unique geological feature and coral ecosystems

  • maintains ECO-CERTIFICATION of fishery by protecting important seabed features