PRINCE EDWARD ISLANDS MPA

"sub-antarctic treasures"

Southern Ocean

 

A volcanic sub-Antarctic wilderness teeming with hundreds of thousands of penguins, albatrosses, petrels and seals.

The Prince Edward Islands are the jewels in South Africa’s island crown. They comprise of the larger Marion Island and the smaller Prince Edward Island, which were annexed by the South African navy in 1948. A permanent weather station has been in operation ever since that provides vital information needed to monitor weather and climate change in the Southern Ocean. The islands are home to unique plants and animals not found near the South African mainland. There are millions of penguins, albatrosses, petrels, seals and a transient group of killer whales. The MPA was proclaimed in 2013 and covers 30% of South Africa’s Southern Ocean territory, representing 80% of its ecosystem diversity. It protects the productive waters surrounding the islands, as well as important features such as seamounts. This ensures that the krill and fish stocks that top predators depend on are not overexploited. Historically, there was intense fishing for Patagonion toothfish, but this collapsed and has been restricted to two vessels to allow for their recovery. The terrestrial ecosystems are under threat from invasive house mice that were accidentall introduced in the 1800s. The Mouse Free Marion project plans to eradicate the mice in 2021 to allow for the ecological recovery of the island's plant, insect and seabird communities.

 

BENEFITS

  • Protects patagonian toothfish and allows for recovery

  • Protects feeding areas for seals, seabirds and killer whales

  • protects south africa’s only sub-antarctic benthic ecosystems

  • home to 40% of the world’s wandering albatrosses