Robben Island MPA

"Island Treasures"

Cape Town, Western Cape


The safeguarded historical and cultural World Heritage Site also provides protection to a natural ocean legacy in a busy maritime area.

South Africa’s iconic Robben Island needs no introduction. Apartheid prisoners and guards had mixed emotions about the icy seas, the lighthouse, the waves and wind. But while many know some of the history of the area, few people have seen the underwater beauty of the kelp forests around the island, or know that Robben Island is one of the few areas to continue to support viable stocks of abalone, a lucrative resource that has been severely overexploited in South Africa. Many seabirds nest on the island including the endangered African Penguin, endangered bank cormorants and terns. This 580 km2 proposed MPA ranges from 180 to 500 m deep.



  • Breeding and feeding area for endangered seabirds

  • Contributes to recovery of abalone and west coast rock lobster

  • Important tourism area for wildlife and cultural heritage