TRAFALGAR MPA

"Fascinating fossils"

South Coast, KwaZulu-Natal

 

Rock fossils and pools filled with interesting animals and seaweeds – the Trafalgar MPA is a tiny treasure.

This small 8.3 km2 MPA extends 4.6 km from Centre Rocks near Marina Beach to the beacon near Palm Beach and stretches 1.8 km out to sea. It protects the estuary and the submerged river bed of the Mpenjati River. The MPA contains a particularly rich diversity of marine seaweeds, while the shoreline is made up of sandy beaches and rocky shores, salt marshes and a freshwater wetland in the adjacent Mpenjati Nature Reserve. The cretaceous sandstone formations along this coast contain many secret finds including fossilised trees, extinct seashells and even shark teeth, which are visible in the intertidal zone at low tide. A walk along the rocky shores in the area will reveal a new world of fascinating plants and animals. From the tiny periwinkles living high up on the shoreline to the beds of seaweeds nearer the waves, a patient observer will be able to spend a fascinating morning exploring this area. At spring low tide, the zonation of the rocky shore is clearly evident. The KZN south coast is popular with local tourists from inland provinces and this little gem has the potential to provide many land-locked visitors with an exciting and safe introduction to the wonders of our coast. Many local schools can use the MPA for environmental education. This MPA was proclaimed in 1979 and is managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Recreational shore fishing is allowed, but no invertebrate species, such as mussels and rock lobster, may be collected. Boat-based fishing and spearfishing for pelagic gamefish is allowed, but other fishing activity, including bottom fishing for reef fish, is prohibited.

 

BENEFITS

  • protects healthy estuary

  • protectS intertidal fossils and diverse seaweeds

  • allows for the recovery and spillover of reef fish into adjacent areas